The Office of National Statistics this week revealed the findings of their first Subjective Well-being Annual Population Survey. The survey is a part of David Cameron’s plan to create a national well-being index, exploring the factors that contribute to a person’s happiness aside from a standard measure of GDP.
More than 160,000 people completed the survey between April 2011 and March 2012, answering four subjective well-being questions:
- Overall, how satisfied are you with your life nowadays?
- Overall, to what extent do you feel the things in your life are worthwhile?
- Overall, how happy did you feel yesterday?
- Overall, how anxious did you feel yesterday?
Considering the current climate, results are surprisingly positive with three quarters of those questioned rating their overall life satisfaction as a 7 or more (on a scale of 0-10 where 0 is not at all and 10 is completely). 80% also rated highly how they felt about the things in their life being worthwhile. The survey also linked marital status and where a person lives to how they feel about their lives, highlighting those that are married or living in rural areas as being happier than those who are single or living in cities.
It is pleasing to see from the ONS results that we are generally pretty content. It is also pleasing to see unexpected results which highlight the necessity of measuring both subjective and objective aspects. Previous assumptions might have been made for example on how someone feels about their life based on their health. However these results show that actually 40% of those with ‘very bad’ health gave medium to high scores on their lives feeling worthwhile.
We think that finding out how people think and feel is crucial in determining their happiness and well-being. Which is why we created NPC’s Well-being Measure – an online survey tool designed specifically to measure subjective aspects such as self esteem, emotional well-being and resilience for 11-16 year olds.