Cost of Living Survey findings published – what you had to say

7 Sep 2020

Read the full findings of the COTA NT 2020 Cost of Living Survey Report – released 7 September 2020

This survey was conducted and compiled by COTA NT to determine trends and patterns in the lives of the senior Territorians and to collect data on some of the issues faced by senior Territorians. The survey – answered by 157 seniors aged over 50 living in Darwin, Katherine and Alice Springs  – helped reveal some essential details about senior Territorians including demographics, residency status, and where they are planning to live in the future. It also shows concerns about employment and annual income of seniors and self-rated financial security; lastly the expenses that seniors are facing that are impacting their cost of living.

The results of the survey broken down by the topics explored are as follows:

Residency in the Northern Territory: Most of the respondents, 82% had lived in the Territory for more than 15 years and most would continue to live in the territory beyond the next 5 years till 2025 (63%). When those who wanted to leave the Territory were asked what would be the main reason to leave, 39% said cost of living and 24% said to be closer to their family and friends.

In this section an open-ended question was also asked regarding if the respondents are planning to leave the Territory, what might change their mind and encourage them to stay. The respondents said they would stay if there is:

  • an increase the availability of employment and concessions
  • increase in the availability of health care and medical specialists
  • reduction in the cost of living for seniors.
  • Also, they said they would stay to be closer family and friends living in the Territory and if there was less crime in the Territory.

Demographics: A majority of the respondents (90%) were within the 60 to 79 age range and most of the respondents were females (62%).

Financial security: Most of the respondents (62%) agree or agree strongly that the cost of living is increasing at a rate that is leaving them behind, which is a cause of concern.

38% of respondents disagreed or strongly disagreed that they have money left over after covering their basic needs to spend on leisure and social activities. However, most of the respondents, 30% neither disagreed nor agreed about whether they had extra money left over to spend on leisure or social activities after covering their basic living needs. 

The survey also identified that most of the respondents, 47% agree or agree strongly that they have difficulties in understanding the changing rules around retirement income and superannuation.

Also, 33% of the respondents indicated that they have difficulty understanding or accessing government services to assist with their financial situation, while the majority of respondents (43%) were neutral about having difficulties in understanding the or accessing the government services to assist with their financial situation.

Also, an open-ended question was asked in this section regarding what changes the respondents would like to see government make for better financial security outcomes for older Territorians. There were a lot of different changes that the respondents wanted to see but the most mentioned changes that the respondents wanted the government to make was regarding increasing pensions and seniors’ concessions and making basic utilities, registration and drivers’ licence more affordable or provide concessions for these.

Employment Status: Most of the respondents (50%) were fully retired and 14% of the respondents were still employed full time.

Employment Sector: Most of the respondents (35%) were employed in the private sector and a large number of respondents were self-employed (15%), or employed with NT government (18%). 18% were employed in other sectors not mentioned in the questionnaire.

Annual Income: A majority of the respondents (53%) earned less than $31,199 annually, 15% of the respondents earned more than $83,200 annually. The questionnaire also asked the respondents to rate their current financial situation and many respondents (23%) rated their financial situation as average (about 5 out of 10).

Highest expense impacting cost of living: This question asked respondents to rate their concerns from 1-5 however most respondents did not rate from 1-5 and checked one or more boxes. Therefore, most of the respondents had multiple responses for this question but their highest concern or expense is reported here as accurately as possible.

Read the full findings

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