Survey Results Analysis

More than 1970 people responded to the Relationships Australia online survey in July.  Almost four-fifths of survey respondents (81%) identified as female.

As was the case for last month’s survey, more females than males responded in every age group (Figure 1).  More than eighty-five per cent of survey respondents were aged between 20‑59 years, with the highest number of responses collected for women aged between 30-39 years (inclusive).

The demographic profile of survey respondents remains consistent with our experience of the groups of people that would be accessing the Relationships Australia website.



Survey participants were asked who they thought were the most likely group to be homeless (figure 2).

Both male and female survey respondents overestimated the number of young men and underestimated the number of women experiencing homelessness; however, men were significantly more likely to underestimate the number of women experiencing homelessness.  Half of men and women considered that young men were the most likely people to be homeless, while one‑fifth of women reported that they thought women with children or people aged over 55 years were the most likely to be homeless.  One-fifth of men also reported people aged over 55 years were the most likely to be homeless, but only one-tenth (12%) considered women with children were the most likely people to be homeless.



When compared to actual rates, figure 3 shows that both female and male survey respondents were also likely to overstate the number of people sleeping in tents, cars or makeshift shelters (45% compare with an actual rate of 6%), and underestimate the number of homeless people sleeping in houses with other people (18% compared with an actual rate of 56%) and homelessness shelters (7% compared with an actual rate of 20%).



Figure 4 reports on perceptions of the reasons for homelessness.  Almost half of survey respondents reported that they though mental health or drug/alcohol issues were the reasons for people experiencing homelessness.  Women (30%) were more likely than men (24%) to report family violence as a reason for homelessness, while men (19%) were more likely than women (15%) to report money problems as a reason for homelessness, all underreports of actual reasons for homelessness.



Survey respondents were most likely to report that they thought governments (55%) or the local community (32%) were responsible for solving homeless (figure 5).  Similar to the results of previous surveys on the public perceptions of homelessness, visitors to our website appeared to recognise that government and community responses are needed to solve large social issues such as homelessness.

Similar to the findings of Homelessness Australia’s survey, a high proportion of survey respondents (36%) thought that getting an education or job was a pathway out of homelessness (figure 6).  In contrast, more than one‑quarter (28%) of respondents reported that they thought people can’t get out of homelessness, suggesting these respondents recognise the complex situations of people experiencing homelessness.