Results for the South Burnett, North Burnett and Cherbourg were mixed when it came to happiness.
Results for the South Burnett, North Burnett and Cherbourg were mixed when it came to happiness. Pixabay

Happiness study delivers sad results for South Burnett

REGIONS from all across the nation have been assessed on their happiness levels and things don't look positive for the South Burnett.

The Happiness Project is a large-scale research initiative by Bond University journalism students.

More than 540 local government areas from across Australia were assessed on their level of advantage and disadvantage.

Nine categories were averaged to discover each region's overall quality of life.

Categories included housing affordability, education, community, jobs, wealth, accessibility, work-life balance, safety and health.

South Burnett residents may be surprised to read our region scored 3.9 out of a possible 10.0 in overall quality of life.

Neighbouring regions scored similar overall results with North Burnett scoring 4.2, Gympie 3.9 and Cherbourg 3.6 respectively.

Average overall scores aside, the devil was in the details as the South Burnett scored an acceptable 7.0 for safety but only 2.4 for health and 2.5 for employment.

The North Burnett also scored highly for safety with 8.0 and were the leader for housing compared to neighbouring regions with 5.5, but scoring only 2.0 for wealth.

Concerning stand outs for Cherbourg were scores of 1.0 for employment and 1.5 for education.

However, the indigenous region's overall score was boosted with a work-life balance of a perfect 10.0.

These scores are a far cry from some of the country's highest regions, such as Victoria's Nillumbik which scored 8.6, Brisbane on 7.2 and the Sunshine Coast with 6.3.

Emily Bradfield was one of the students involved in the project who was concerned with some of the results that came out of rural areas.

"Being raised in the country, the most shocking data for me was the poor work-life balance in regional and remote areas, specifically heavy farming areas,” she said.

Fellow journalism student, Alexandra Bernard also flagged some concerning outcomes from the project.

"What really stood out to me in the data was the median age of death,” she said.

"In some remote parts of Australia it's only in the 40s and 50s.”

The Happiness Project used Census and other publicly available data to score each LGA and each category drew on a number of factors for its score.

The Bond University researchers stressed that low scores did not necessarily mean a region was unhappy.

"A low overall quality of life score could mean that your region is under-served relative to other regions, or that it's facing specific social or economic barriers,” the study says.

"If you live there, you may already be aware of some of those challenges.

"We hope the Happiness Project gives some of the regions with lower scores a way to understand social and economic disadvantage and thereby start discussions about resource need.”

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