Now in its second year, the ONS National Wellbeing programme sets out to measure the population’s personal life satisfaction in the UK, providing a complementary view to statistics on economic progress, such as Gross Domestic Product. Instead of focusing on economic performance, the programme gauges what social factors affect the nation’s sense of fulfilment.
The findings show that health, employment and relationship status are the most important factors in an individual’s perception of happiness.
Some of the more interesting conclusions this year showed that people aged 45-54 had the lowest satisfaction out of all age groups, while 65-79 year-olds had the highest. Married couples were shown to be the most content as opposed to those who are divorced or separated. Those people who were widowed came somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.
Levels of well-being also showed differences across ethnic groups in the population; people of Indian descent were found to be happiest while Afro-Caribbean people reported being the least satisfied with life.
The ONS did not produce a specific reason for the uptick in national happiness but did suggest that the Olympic fever and the extra bank holiday last year may have created enough of a feel good factor to push the index upwards.