The Office of National Statistics turns its attention to young people’s well-being

Knowing about well-being – and being able to measure it – is something that the UK Office of National Statistics (ONS) sees as crucial. How could an organisation that aims to improve understanding of life in the UK ignore it?!

Back in November 2010 the ONS launched its Measuring National Well-being Programme and has been asking the public what it thinks about it ever since.

Traditionally, the ONS has focused on adults. But one of the things highlighted in its consultations is the important of understanding young people’s well-being too.

So the ONS now wants to develop and publish a set of national statistics on the national well-being of young people. As part of this it has invited NPC to sit on its Children and Young People Steering Group, which held its first meeting in mid-November. The group is a mixture of academics, civil servants, and experts in well-being and aims to provide guidance and direction to the ONS.

The first meeting asked how much of the definition of well-being developed for adults, could be used for young people. The diagram below shows the ONS emerging definition of well-being, which showing a range of domains that combine to influence a person’s individual subjective well-being. The group agreed that this was a good starting point but that it needed to be varied to reflect the different experiences and priorities of young people. For example, unlike adults, young people do not worry directly about job security or their mortgage.

ONS consultation on domains of adult well-beingWe look forward being part of the group and we promise to keep you up-to-date with progress. If you have anything to contribute, please tell us and we’ll be sure to include it in the debate. Thoughts and comments can be emailed to us at


About John Copps

John is part of NPC's research and consulting team and is the founder of NPC's Well-being Measure, a social business that provides an online tool to measure young people’s well-being. He has eight years experience of research and consulting, and is passionate about how data can be used to improve the performance of organisations. John is a regular contributor to NPC's blog and has also contributed to pieces for BBC Radio, the Guardian, and the Financial Times. John is a governor of a secondary school.
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