Media Release
What do Sydney residents believe makes somewhere a good place to live? New polling finds safety is no.1 priority.
10 May, 2019

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Matt Levinson

Feeling safe, access to high quality health services and affordable housing are the top reasons Sydney residents believe makes somewhere a good place to live. The figures are part of new polling released today by Ipsos and the Committee for Sydney.

63% of residents in Greater Sydney said that feeling safe makes somewhere a good place to live, whilst 57% said access to high quality health care and affordable decent housing.

The polling found that Sydneysiders feel slightly safer than Australians overall, with residents in the Northern Beaches, North Shore and Eastern Suburbs feeling  most safe. Residents in South West Sydney feel the least safe.

Most of Sydney’s housing is unaffordable compared to the rest of the country

The results also show that the majority of Sydney locations sit on or below the national average in relation to housing affordability.  Inner suburbs and North Shore rate as particularly unaffordable. Only South West Sydney and the Outer West and Blue Mountains are below the national average.

Large parts of Sydney have access to high quality healthcare, but there is an east-west divide

The polling shows that Sydney sits just on the national average in relation to access to healthcare and that more affluent inner suburbs rate their access most highly. However, whilst the Eastern Suburbs, North Sydney and Inner City Sydney have better access to healthcare than the rest of Australia, South West Sydney and Blacktown are both well below the national average.

Congestion worse in most of Sydney compared to the national average

The figures show that congestion is worst in densely populated areas of Sydney with less access to public transport and that only the Outer West and South West areas of Sydney have congestion lower than the national average.

The figures also show that Sydney’s eastern suburbs is the fourth most liveable region in Australia, behind Inner Perth, Warrnambool in Victoria and Central Adelaide. However, the figures also show that South West Sydney is ranked as the least liveable region in Australia.

Each year Ipsos asks 10,000 Australians to select the five attributes (from a list of 16) that they believe make somewhere a good place to live.  Respondents are then asked to rate how well their state and local area performed on all items. Fieldwork is conducted online, with respondents sourced from Ipsos’ online panel.

Dan Evans, Deputy MD of Ipsos said:

”While Sydneysiders’ all pretty much value the same things when it comes to considering what makes somewhere a good place to live, the Ipsos Life in Australia report shows us that how well our local areas perform in delivering against those liveability attributes really depends on where you live.  

Those of us who call the Eastern Suburbs, North Sydney, Hornsby, City, Inner South and Northern Beaches regions home report a vastly better lived experience than Sydneysiders from areas like Parramatta, Blacktown and the South West.

Further, when compared to other major Australian cities, the relative distance between the most and the least liveable parts of Sydney is one of its most unique and somewhat concerning qualities.

Sydney is a global city, participating in the global trend that sees people migrating to urban areas to seek social and economic opportunity. And, while Sydney’s popularity as a destination for migrants to seek those opportunities is on one level a testament to its remarkable success, reports like Life in Australia really show us that there are actually many different Sydneys being lived-in everyday.”

James Hulme, Director of Advocacy for the Committee for Sydney said:

“Sydney is renowned as one of the world’s leading cities for liveability, but this data shows that there are pressures on our famed liveability, particularly due to a high cost of housing and congestion”.

“The polling demonstrates a sharp divide between east and west Sydney. Whilst housing might be more affordable in the west, access to public transport and high quality healthcare is more difficult to obtain. As western Sydney grows, it’s vital that we close the gap in these areas to make all of our city much more liveable”

Note to editors:

  1. The Committee for Sydney is an independent think tank and champion for the whole of Sydney, providing thought leadership beyond the electoral cycle. The Committee aims to enhance the economic, social, cultural and environmental conditions that make Sydney a competitive, resilient and liveable global city. The Committee has a diverse membership with over 150 member organisations: including the major corporate sectors driving Sydney’s economy; strategically minded local authorities; key NSW Government departments and agencies; not- for-profit organisations; and leading arts and sporting institutions. Members help develop and deliver priorities, provide expertise and ensure a representative geographical spread across the greater Sydney region.
  2. The data informing this release was drawn from the Ipsos Life in Australia report, the nation’s largest annual study of community values and liveability. Life in Australia not only provides Ipsos and our clients with a deep understanding of what citizens believe makes somewhere a good place to live, it also provides an insight into how Australians rate the liveability of their local area at a point-in-time, how local areas compare and whether local areas are becoming more or less liveable over-time.