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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

ONS publishes first data from wellbeing survey

UK— Three-quarters of people aged 16 and over rate their satisfaction with their lives as ‘seven’ on a scale of 0 to 10, according to the first results from the survey of subjective wellbeing carried out by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Since April 2011 ONS has been asking respondents to its Integrated Household Survey four questions: how satisfied they are with their lives, whether they think the things they do are worthwhile, how happy they are and how anxious.

The data shows that 45% of unemployed people rated their ‘life satisfaction’ as below 7 out of 10. This is over twice as much as for the employed, 20% of whom described their life satisfaction as below 7 out of 10.

ONS began investigating ways to measure “national wellbeing” in 2010 at the behest of David Cameron, who wants to pursue new ways of assessing society’s progress beyond economic indicators like GDP.

But while subjective wellbeing is important, ONS said, “it is just one component of national wellbeing… ONS believes that capturing both subjective and objective measures across a range of domains is essential when making any assessment of national wellbeing.”

Alongside today’s results, the ONS has also published a paper setting out the areas it plans to measure to give a complete view of “wellbeing”. The revised list of key indicators – including relationships, health and employment status – is based on the outcome of a public consultation which received 1,800 responses.

Glenn Everett, programme director for the Measuring National Wellbeing programme, said: “Understanding people’s views of wellbeing is an important addition to existing official statistics and has potential uses in the policy-making process and to aid other decision-making.” 

 

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Readers' comments (3)

  • We think these findings are really interesting and have been looking ourselves at different factors affecting our societies well being. We’ll be discussing all at our Happiness festival in October. www.dartington.org/interrogate Come join in and get happy!

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  • We presented a paper on the measurment of well-being in South Africa at the MRS conference some eight years ago. we highlighted its importance to marketers as people's self-perceived sense of well-being drives how they run their lives - and make buying decisions. It represents the perceived net present value of their lives up to that point. We have been measuring well being here regulalrly since 2003 with our latest update being in 2011.

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  • I am not surprised that the employed have a lower 'Life satisfaction' than the unemployed. The employed are working for less wages with each new job, have to work more unsocial hours for that pay and don't get the unsocial hours payments that were available not so long ago.

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