Life doesn't exactly seem to begin at 40 for many Australians. For the middle-aged there feel much worse off than those in their early 20s or mid 60s.
Dr Terry Flynn, a researcher with the Centre for the Study of Choice at the University of Technology Sydney says middle-aged people in Australia scored around 3.5 per cent lower than that of people in younger and older age groups when it came to quality of life.
Among his findings -
* Respondents without children do better living in Sydney than in Melbourne (having 2 per cent better quality of life in the former). However, having children reverses this: residents of Melbourne with children have slightly higher quality of life than their Sydney counterparts.
* Divorce hits Australian men hard - reducing their quality of life by 7 per cent. However, the boost to independence that female divorcees gain completely offsets the fall in quality of life attributable to relationship break-down.
* The effects of political disenfranchisement are clear. Feeling unable to influence decisions that affect one's local area tends to hit men a lot harder than it hits women: cutting quality of life by 6 per cent and 3 per cent respectively. However, things are different in Sydney: disenfranchised men there are no worse off than their female counterparts.
* Erosion of trust in people is associated with lower quality of life - around 5 per cent. However, the effects of this are more marked among those Sydney residents who feel they cannot trust many people locally: their quality of life is typically around 11 per cent lower than people who feel they can trust others.
Five thousand Australians participated in Dr Flynn's survey.