14 May 2013
Research by a University of the Sunshine Coast Psychology academic has found the vast majority of seachangers are happy with their move to the Coast and have no intention of leaving.
USC Lecturer in Psychology Dr Prue Millear is now finalising her study, ‘Making a seachange to the Sunshine Coast: Does the reality match the dream?’
“About 83 percent of people surveyed felt that their reasons for moving had been mostly or completely met,” she said. “Another survey question found that 70 percent of people were unlikely to move away.”
Dr Millear, who moved to the Coast in 1991 from New South Wales, said her survey drew 228 respondents aged between 18 and 73, with the average age 35. Three-quarters were married and two-thirds were parents.
"The average respondent had lived here for about nine years, but they ranged from new arrivals to someone who had lived here for 32 years,” she said.
“We found that people moved here for many reasons, mostly around finding a better lifestyle for themselves and/or their families.”
The Top 5 reasons given for Sunshine Coast seachanges were:
- For a less rushed or more relaxed lifestyle,
- For a better climate,
- For children to grow up in a better environment,
- For a better work-life balance,
- For the environment.
“It was interesting that ‘moving for a job’ was only number 10,” she said.
Dr Millear said the biggest negative was ‘missing family and friends back home’, although most respondents felt their new life satisfaction outweighed this.
The research found the happiest people were less lonely, more optimistic and made friends quickly to become part of their new community.
The loneliest people responded that they could not make friends easily or quickly and found it harder to become involved in the community.
“It shows that we are social creatures,” Dr Millear said. “When you uproot to move to a new place, however glorious, you still have to make an effort to get into the new community, to go out and meet people.
“Then you will be less lonely, more satisfied with life and more likely to stay.”
The most common ways of becoming involved in a community were: work (yours or your partner’s), children’s schools, individual and team sports and the beach.
She said the research could be helpful to individuals and government and community organisations.
“We can all recognise the need to reach out to our new neighbours,” she said. “Sometimes the kindness of one person may help someone feel like they belong and are capable of staying here.”
— Julie Schomberg