Consumers are current facing “moderate” levels of anxiety, according to the NAB Australian Consumer Anxiety Index.

The Index measured 6.3 points in 1Q13 with concerns over the cost of living as the single biggest cause of anxiety. More than 40 per cent rated their concern at 9-10 points (high), compared with 36.4 per cent for government policy and 31 per cent for ability to fund retirement the next biggest causes of anxiety. Just 16.7 per cent of those surveyed rated anxiety over job security as high (9-10 points) while 41.9% rated it very low (0-4 points).

Meanwhile, almost 60 per cent of Australian survey respondents reported their anxiety levels over their health to be low (5-6 points) or very low (0-4 points).

Tasmania was the least anxious state for overall wellbeing, but it rated highest for consumer anxiety, marginally ahead of Victoria and Queensland. By location, consumer anxiety was much higher in the Bush for all survey questions (except health) with very high levels of anxiety over cost of living and government policy.

Among other key findings, anxiety was lowest in high income groups for all questions except government policy and anxiety was highest in the 35-50K group.

Additionally women were more anxious than men with the biggest divergence seen in their ability to fund their retirement and job security. Females reported higher levels of anxiety in all age groups, but the gap narrowed with age. An inverted U-shaped relationship was noted between anxiety and age (for both men and women) with lower anxiety reported by younger and older people. Overall consumer anxiety was highest in the 30-49 age group.