The Australia Institute' survey highlights the silver linings of 2020

Donald Trump's election defeat rated highly among respondents. Picture: Shutterstock
Donald Trump's election defeat rated highly among respondents. Picture: Shutterstock

While it's undoubtedly been a challenging year, a new survey conducted by The Australia Institute found there were some things from 2020 Australians want to keep.

The top aspect of 2020 Australians wanted to keep was less pollution being created by less traffic on the roads with 35 per cent of respondents picking the option.

"Increased funding for mental health and family violence services" (33 per cent) and "working from home arrangements" (32 per cent) were the next most-loved 2020 initiatives.

The gas-led recovery received the least fanfare with only 6 per cent of respondents keen to keep it going beyond 2021. The second-least popular 2020 feature was "the JobKeeper wage subsidy" (16 per cent) and the third-least popular was "free child care" (17 per cent).

Tied for the highlight of 2020 was "Donald Trump losing the 2020 US election" and "people actually washing their hands for once", with 30 per cent of respondents selecting those options.

In second place was the "slower pace of life" (25 per cent) and in third place was "saving money because there was nothing to do" (23 per cent).

The Australia Institute's executive director Ben Oquist said the fact people highlighted Trump's election loss as a highlight of the year "underscores the global significance of the role of US President among world leaders".

Less-popular aspects of 2020 included: "home schooling" and "fashionable face masks" (both 5 per cent); "Black Lives Matter protests" and "having an excuse to wear casual clothes" (both 6 per cent); "having a different routine" and "spending more time outdoors or in nature" (both 10 per cent). However a significant proportion of respondents (10 per cent) did not nominate any highlights.

Presented with 11 words to describe the year, the most popular option was "unprecedented" with 19 respondents choosing the option.

It was followed by "terrible" (14 per cent), and "tragic" and "exhausting" were tied at 12 per cent. On the other end of the spectrum "amazing" and "just ok" tied at third-last place with 5 per cent.

While 3 per cent said it was "over too soon".

Respondents aged 60 and over were twice as likely to describe 2020 as "unprecedented" than those aged 18-39.

Meanwhile the top description of 2020 for people aged 18-29 was "exhausting".


"It is little wonder that younger Australians are most likely to have described 2020 as exhausting compared to their older counterparts," Mr Oquist said.

"While this year has no doubt been exhausting for most, it is the younger demographic who were most affected by the JobKeeper eligibility requirements and other government decisions such as remote learning for schoolchildren.

"It is younger Australians who are more likely to have lost work and less likely to have picked jobs back up during the recovery."

This story Was there anything to like about 2020? A new survey suggests so first appeared on The Canberra Times.


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