Chris and Sharyn Darby in their garden on the outskirts of Grafton.
Chris and Sharyn Darby in their garden on the outskirts of Grafton.



HAPPINESS depends not on the person, but the postcode, marital status, sex, age and income, a new study has revealed.

The Australian Wellbeing Index, a nationwide survey of the 150 federal electorates, found that residents in the seats of Page and Cowper were comfortable living on the Clarence.

The survey measured residents' levels of fulfilment such as standard of living, health, achievement in life, personal relationships, connection to the community, future security and safety.

The study revealed the factors which contributed to a higher level of wellbeing included being over 55, married, a female, as well as living in an area with less income inequality.

The seat of Page scored 76.77 out of a possible 100, only a couple of points below top scoring Wide Bay, a Queensland seat incorporating Maryborough and Hervey Bay, which scored 78.55. In addition, Page residents indicated an above average score in most of the categories including high achievement in life, sense of safety and connectedness to the community.

The neighbouring seat of Cowper scored 76.41, with residents also indicating a high connectedness to the community.

The seat of Richmond, which stretches from Byron Bay to Tweed Heads, achieved the second highest score in the country with 77.72.

The nurse, Sharyn Darby, 52, and her husband, Chris, a 55-year-old public servant, have lived in Grafton for more than a decade and agree with the survey's findings.

"I can't really think of any of our friends who are unhappy living here; you don't hear anyone say 'I hate Grafton'," Mrs Darby said.

"I think it is all happening here with the new homebase developments. It's a fantastic place to live, but there are still issues, especially with keeping the young people here."

"I don't enjoy the heat at all, but I've lived in other places and this is a great place to live, but wherever you go you have to make the best of it," Mr Darby said.

Another Valley resident, Cherrie Davies, who has lived in Tucabia for 25 years, agrees there is not enough for young people, but values her lifestyle.

"There are communities of artists, a lot of things are going on and it is a friendly place where you can get along easily."

The survey was conducted by Professor Bob Cummins, from Victoria's Deakin University, through the Australian Centre of Quality of Life.

Prof Cummins said the results also indicated that people were happier out of cities, as he believes it can be harder for people to feel part of the community.

"We are finding people living outside the major cities typically have a greater sense of belonging and safety, which contributes significantly to their wellbeing," he said.

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