New research finds that only half of Australians feel attached to their local community

by Aug 6, 2021Publication

Five hands flat on a table

‘We’re better when we’re united’ by Clay Banks, Unsplash

A new report produced by the University of Canberra’s News and Media Research Centre has found that only half of Australians feel attached to their local community.

The research, produced in Digital News Report: Australia 2021, drew on an exploration of the role of local news in creating a sense of belonging to the community.

The researchers asked Australian consumers to what degree they feel attached to their local community, the people who live in their city, district, town, or village. Just over half (53%) of Australians say they feel attached (42% somewhat; 11% very). One in ten (11%) say they are ‘not all all’ attached and 32% are ‘not very’ attached to their local community.

Australians who mainly use print (newspapers or magazines) to get their news are more likely to say they feel attached to their local community (73%).

Attachment to the local community differs with age and education. Older generations are much more likely to feel attached, with 75% of those aged 75+ saying they are ‘somewhat’ or ‘very attached’ to their local community. The figure drops to 36% among Gen Z.

Interestingly, Australians who feel attached to their local community are more likely to trust news (50%) than those who are unattached (37%). This is much higher than the average among all Australians who say they trust most news (43%). In addition, those who feel attached to their local community are also more interested in politics; 39% of those who say they feel attached to their local area have higher interest in politics compared to those who say they do not (25%).

The report is part of a long running international survey coordinated by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, an international research centre in the comparative study of journalism based at the University of Oxford. The Digital News Report delivers comparative data on media usage in 46 countries and across 6 continents.

After a low of 38% in 2020, general trust in news has risen to 43% among Australian news consumers in 2021. While general trust in news has increased, it is still not as high as trust in news and information about the COVID-19 pandemic, which reached 53% in April 2020. The most trusted news brand continue to be the ABC (70%) and SBS (69%).

The report also includes a series of snapshots providing insights in news usage by gender, generation, education and income, and regional.

DIGITAL NEWS REPORT:
AUSTRALIA 2021

Digital News Report - Australia 2021