Living in Australia

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 was commissioned to conduct data collection for the project in 2008.

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

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:

  • How smoking bans have affected the health and smoking behaviour of Australians
  • The reasons for changes in Australia’s birth rate
  • The personal and national costs of mental illness
  • The division of household chores between men and women
  • Childcare: accessibility and who uses it
  • The impact of separation and divorce on income
  • How health influences the ability to work

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.

With each successive wave of the project, the participant response rate has improved: most recently, in Wave 15, we achieved a 97% 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!