More than third suffer 'high' anxiety about cost of living

If you are a man between the age of 18 and 29 who lives in Tasmania, works full-time and has children, you might be one of the most anxious people in Australia, a new survey has found.

If you are a man between the age of 18 and 29 who lives in Tasmania, works full-time and has children, you might be one of the most anxious people in Australia, a new survey has found.

The quarterly survey by the National Australia Bank, which attempts to measure respondents' views on their well-being and anxiety levels across a range of demographics, found that more than a third of Australians say they have "high" anxiety about the cost of living.

At the same time, respondents who resided in rural towns and in the bush, who did not have children, who lived in a two-person household and who were retired were likely to be the least anxious Australians.

The survey results, released on Tuesday, reflect the slowing domestic economy and the reluctance of consumers to spend as they became more anxious about securing their retirement and keeping their jobs, NAB chief economist Alan Oster said.

"Confidence has gone through the roof but actual spending hasn't," Mr Oster said. "We don't see signs yet that the economy has started to accelerate."

The proportion of people who reported being worried about funding their retirement rose from 22.6 per cent in the second quarter of this year to 27 per cent in the September quarter.

More than 35 per cent also reported increased anxiety about job security, echoing the continued softness in the labour market despite the recent fall in the headline unemployment rate from 5.8 per cent to 5.6 per cent.

But Australians reported their overall life satisfaction and happiness levels were unchanged, with more than 57 per cent rating their happiness as high or very high.

The survey, conducted in the lead-up to the September federal election, showed Australians were more optimistic about government policy, with "high" anxiety falling from 36 per cent to 30.9 per cent.

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