2022: Are things going to get better? One in three Australians think the answer is yes!

- December 20, 2021 3 MIN READ
Australians outlook for 2022

A year ago, Roy Morgan asked Australians if they thought 2021 would be better than 2020. Over half of those surveyed (59  per cent) said ‘yes’. Twelve months later and that positive sentiment has decreased, with only 37 per cent of Aussies expecting 2022 will be ‘better’ than 2021.

However, fewer than a quarter of Australians (23 per cent), think 2022 will be ‘worse’ than 2021. Nearly a third of Australians are hedging their bets on next year with 31 per cent saying 2022 will be ‘the same’ and nine per cent (down 5 per cent points) are uncertain of what the year will bring.

Australians perceptions vary by state

Your perception of the year ahead varies depending on where you live and work. Depsite suffering the brunt of lockdowns and restrictions, people in Victoria (46 per cent) and New South Wales (44 per cent) are easily the most positive about the new year. However, this optimism is not as widespread in other states with only 29 per cent of people in Queensland, 24 per cent of people in Western Australia, 22 per cent of people in South Australia and 20 per cent of people in Tasmania believing 2022 will. be better. In three States, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania, more people say 2022 will be ‘worse’ than 2021.

Analysis by States & Regions – Next Year ‘Better’ or ‘Worse’


    City/ Country States


  % % % % % % % % %
Better 37 38 35 44 46 29 24 22 20
Same 31 31 30 28 25 30 45 35 33
Worse 23 23 24 19 21 30 23 32 35
Don’t know 9 8 11 9 8 11 8 11 12
TOTAL 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100

Older Aussies hope for a brighter future

Older Australians are the most positive about 2022. Over half (52 per cent)  expect it will be ‘better’ than 2021. Similarly Aussies aged 18-24 have also pinned their hopes on a better new year. 42 per cent of Australians in this age group say 2022 will be ‘better’ than 2021 compared to 29 per cent who say it will be ‘worse’.

When it comes to gender, men are more positive about next year than women with 40 per cent of men expecting 2022 will be ‘better’ than 2021 compared to only 34 per cent of women.  

Analysis by Age & Gender – Next Year ‘Better’ or ‘Worse



Gender Age
Men Women 18-24 25-34 35-49 50-64 65+
  % % % % % % % %
Better 37 40 34 42 29 33 31 52
Same 31 31 30 17 37 35 33 23
Worse 23 22 25 29 24 26 23 17
Don’t know 9 7 11 12 10 6 13 8
TOTAL 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100

Omicron changes the state of play

Michele Levine, Chief Executive Officer, Roy Morgan, says the emergence of the highly infectious ‘Omicron variant’ in recent weeks has, unfortunately, put an end to the notion that 2022 will be a year where we return to normal.

“Australians are set to enter 2022 in a mixed state-of-mind with new outbreaks of COVID-19 spreading rapidly in New South Wales and Victoria over the last week as restrictions have been eased in both States in the run-up to Christmas.”

Levine says it’s a different story to last year when Aussies were upbeat about a future without COVID.

“The numbers are less encouraging than a year ago as Australia enjoyed a relatively COVID-free summer in 2020/21 and with new vaccines set to arrive from February 2021 it appeared the COVID-19 pandemic might soon be over. That hope proved not to be the case with extended lockdowns this year in New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT.

Lockdown lows bring hopes for brighter tomorrow

“Perhaps unsurprisingly, these States are the most positive about 2022 being ‘better’ than 2021 and nearly half of the people in Victoria (46%) and New South Wales (44%) say next year will be ‘better’ than this year. However, in the four smaller States there are more people inclined to say next year will be ‘worse’ than this year – especially in South Australia and Tasmania which have been largely COVID-free throughout the pandemic.

“During the past two years, the only ‘certainty’ we have had during the pandemic has been dealing with uncertainty. Unfortunately for those who believed that achieving a high vaccination rate of over 90% of the population would lead to a return to normality as we knew it pre-pandemic, the last few weeks with the emergence of the ‘Omicron variant’ shows there will still be a large degree of uncertainty going forward into 2022,” Levine concluded.

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