Housing affordability could be driving the voting decisions of young people with a new survey also showing many millennials are still undecided about who to back at the next federal election.
The Australian Millennial Report 2019 surveyed about 1206 Australians online aged 19-36 in January 2019 and asked them about politics, how they got their news and what was most important to them. It also identified a number of “personas” to show the differences between millennials of different ages.
“This year’s report includes some extraordinary results,” cofounder of research organisation Millennial Future, Mark MacSmith said.
“For example, of all the issues facing millennials, the most concerning is the cost of living. The environment came in last.”
He said the survey also found 51 per cent of millennials don’t see any value in private health insurance.
When it comes to the upcoming federal election Mr MacSmith said 65 per cent of millennials surveyed don’t support the current government.
But it appears the millennial vote is apparently still up for grabs as the survey found about 45 per cent of women were undecided about who to vote for at the next federal election, and just over 30 per cent of men were also undecided.
The survey revealed the key to unlocking the millennial vote could relate to their feeling of optimism and this was often linked to housing affordability.
The survey found those with the lowest personal optimism overwhelmingly intended to vote against the government, with about 40 per cent saying they would do so.
In contrast, those who were most optimistic about their future were more likely to vote for the current government.
Interestingly, optimism appeared to be strongly linked to attitudes about housing affordability.
The survey identified those with the lowest optimism often felt that buying a property was unattainable. Almost 35 per cent of those with low optimism said it “feels impossible” to buy their first property.
Meanwhile, those with high optimism were most likely to already own property. Just under 20 per cent of those with the highest optimism score already had a home.
Overall, the survey found millennials were less optimistic about their future, as well as Australia’s future, than they were last year.
While housing affordability could be an important influence on people’s voting intentions, cost of living was identified as a key concern for the federal election.
About 39 per cent of millennial women and 30 per cent of men thought cost of living was the most important issue at the election.
For women, this was followed by housing affordability, and health and hospitals, tied on 12 per cent.
Men were more worried about the economy (17 per cent) followed by housing affordability (11 per cent).
In another interesting finding, the survey found that those regularly indulging in smashed avocado on toast were less likely to be worried about affording a home.
The more unattainable they thought buying a property was, the less frequently they reported eating the infamous cafe treat.
News about financial matters including the banking royal commission has also made an impact, with about half of all young customers reporting they were looking for an alternative to their current bank as a result.
The importance of mental health was highlighted with the survey revealing almost half of the millennials surveyed reported having a conversation about mental health in the last month. About 40 per cent believed good mental health was the most important benefit of a healthy lifestyle, up from 33 per cent last year.
Meanwhile, YouTube overtook Facebook as the app millennials could not live without, with 33 per cent nominating it as their favourite app, followed closely by Facebook (32 per cent) and Google maps (26 per cent).
“Facebook seems to have become a bulletin board for catching up on the day’s news rather than seeing what friends are doing,” the survey report said.
“We can also predict that within a year Facebook will be on par with TV as the top news source for millennials,” the survey said.
The survey also noted interesting differences in attitudes between the three age groups: 19-24, 25-29 and 30-36, and the survey has developed “personas” to describe the overall trends.
THE FUTURE SHAPERS
This group makes up to 46 per cent of Australian millennials surveyed, up from 43 per cent in 2018.
Harry, aged 27-33, and living in Melbourne. He completed an undergraduate degree and is well into his career. He currently believes he is doing important work and is hungry for recognition and acknowledgment from his peers. He also aspires to work at a company that is shaping the future.
He is engaged in the issues and is most likely to read and watch mainstream news, while also having the least trust in the media industry. He is always using technology to get a better deal for himself and is most likely to look for alternatives to traditional banking and insurance.
He is more knowledgeable on environmental issues than most and wants business to play a stronger role in climate change. He also wants the government to focus on the economy and cost of living.
Increased stress from work, and managing finances has seen him begin to learn more about looking after his wellbeing.
This group has shrunk, representing about 27 per cent of millennials, down from 32 per cent in 2018.
Cindy, female, 24-29 years old, from the suburbs of Sydney. She is most likely to have a post graduate degree and a white collar career. She believes the work she does is very important and is looking to learn more important things, solve complex problems and work with inspiring people.
She aspires to traditional values and wants to be close to family. She is already well on her way to saving for a home if she doesn’t already own one.
She is the most trusting of all industries and brands and won’t be moving banks or insurance providers anytime soon.
She believes solving climate change is up to the individual and is doing what she can to help, particularly using less plastic.
She is more engaged with people close to her, spending more time on Facebook than other millennials and is more likely to have had conversations about her or her friends mental health in the last month.
DOING IT MY WAY
This group has risen slightly, making up 17 per cent of millennials, a small increase from 15 per cent in 2018.
Casey, female, 21, from Brisbane. She has recently completed a TAFE course and has entered the workforce. Her number one concern right now is job stability but is also dreaming of fulfilling work and building a legacy.
She wants to do more to help the environment and believes governments should follow her lead and do more to solve climate change.
She doesn’t follow mainstream news and doesn’t trust companies will look after her. She is also the least likely to have private health insurance.
She feels left out of the economy and is trying to save more to keep up. For her, freedom is being able to get out of the rat race and travel, or work when she wants. Acceptance from family and friends for doing life her way is also a key ingredient for her happiness.
She rarely eats smashed avocado, only a few times a year and will be voting for whoever lowers her cost of living.
The smallest group, making up 11 per cent of millennials but this is a slight increase from 10 per cent in 2018.
Nathan, male, aged 25, from Bundaberg. He recently completed an apprenticeship. He doesn’t enjoy his job or think it is very important. He is also most likely living pay cheque to pay cheque at the moment.
Although he knows if he sticks with his profession he will be able to increase his wealth and build a life for himself or go travelling, he also can’t afford or refuses to pay for private health insurance or and doesn’t see value in it.
He doesn’t follow the mainstream, and gets his news and information from social media and blogs.
Those outside sources are confirming his beliefs that we have past the point of no return on climate change and that immigration and population are major issues.