Australians think life is better now than 50 years ago

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The Australian Government recently announced plans to do away with the 457 visa program. Esaias Tan via Unsplash

Australians thought life is better now than it was five decades ago, a global study has shown. Although it is easy for Aussies to become nostalgic about the 1960s, experts say the society is fairer now than it was.

Fifty percent of Australians who responded to a recent poll said life is better now than it was, while 33 percent thought it has become worse. The rest were undecided.

For the first time, the Pew Research Centre asked whether life in different countries is better, worse or the same as it was decades ago. The organisation often measures global attitudes.

Life in the ‘60s

While most Australians thought that now is a better time to be alive, demographer Mark McCrindle said it is easy to become nostalgic about the sixties. Australians were able to watch television in black and white back then. The economy prospered, and the mining boom was underway.

McCrindle recalled that kids would ride bikes without wearing helmets during those times. He also said that parenting back then was the sort of free-range approach with fewer rules as kids would go out on weekends and return home for dinner.

Today, McCrindle said that Australia has a fairer society beyond the medical and technological advancements. He mentioned not having the equality and the recognition of original Australians back then. "So from a social justice [perspective], [we see] far more enlightenment and breakthroughs these days,” ABC News reports him as saying.

Australia recorded a huge gap in positivity based on the age of respondents. Over 60 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds thought life is better now. This is comparable to 41 percent of those aged above 50 who thought life was better when they were younger. The study noted the same case for the United Kingdom.

The global study has found that Vietnamese are the most positive about life now. Eighty-eight percent of those surveyed said life is better now than in the sixties.

Indians are also positive about life, with 69 percent of respondents saying life is better today. South Koreans (68 percent) and Japanese (65 percent) thought life is better now, too.

For Venezuelans, the majority of them, 72 percent, said life is worse. Mexicans (68 percent), Tunisians (60 percent) and Jordanians (57 percent) tend to think life was better some decades ago. Overall, the global median figure was 43 percent saying life is better.

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