Living in Australia

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Funded by the Australian Government, the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey — also known as the Living in Australia study — is a longitudinal household-based study that began in 2001.

The study is overseen by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research (University of Melbourne). Roy Morgan Research has been commissioned to conduct data collection for the project since 2008.

Adult members of participating households are interviewed annually on topics such as employment, education, family relationships and wellbeing.

The resulting data promotes a better understanding of the Australian population – its economic and emotional well-being, family and labour market dynamics. Respondents’ privacy is protected at all times.

Why is this study so important?

HILDA is one of many similar long-term studies being conducted around the world in countries as diverse as the USA, Germany, Japan and Indonesia.

Equipped with the in-depth understanding this kind of research brings, governments and social welfare agencies are better placed to make decisions that genuinely benefit the population.

The Living in Australia study has shed light on many important social issues, including the following recent examples:

  • The impact of COVID lockdowns on mental health
  • Housing and economic inequality in the long run
  • Health status and housing decisions of older Australians
  • The persistence of unhappiness
  • Socioeconomic position and cohort differences in health expectancy
  • The impact of an automatable job on worker’s mental health and life satisfaction
  • Financial hardship and the effectiveness of job search
  • The long-term wage consequences of parental joblessness
  • Weekend work and work-family conflict
  • Urban green spaces and loneliness
  • Economic impacts of direct natural disaster exposure

Innovations and improvements

Before Roy Morgan Research joined the HILDA project, it had been a pen-and-paper survey; we took the innovative step of converting data collection to Computer Assisted Personal Interviews (CAPI). This change led to significant time savings, improvements in data quality, security and immediacy of data tracking and reporting.

The participant response rate has remained at a very high level – most recently, in Wave 21, we achieved a 94% response. This is particularly notable as HILDA is a longitudinal study; any respondent who opts out cannot be replaced.

Our knowledge and experience with questionnaire design, tracking respondents and managing large sample databases ensures that Roy Morgan Research continues to be the company of choice for large-scale government projects such as HILDA.

Get involved

We need experienced face-to-face and telephone interviewers for this important social research project!

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