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Measuring National Well-being, Summary of Proposed Domains and Measures, July 2012 This product is designated as National Statistics

Released: 24 July 2012 Download PDF


This article shows the second iteration of the experimental domains and measures for the Measuring National Well-being Programme following the responses to the consultation which ended in January 2012. There is a separate article which gives more detail of the responses which ONS received and discusses why and how changes to the domains and measures have been made. This article is published as part of the ONS Measuring National Well-being Programme. The programme aims to produce accepted and trusted measures of the well-being of the nation - how the UK as a whole is doing.

Domains and measures

ONS undertook a public consultation on 'What matters to you' between November 2010 and March 2011. Following this earlier consultation, ONS intends to publish information to understand and monitor well-being at different levels of detail. Areas for measurement are described as domains and their scope gives the areas which ONS believe should be measured. Within each domain a small set of measures is being developed: these are described as headline measures and they are intended to cover the scope of the domain at a high level. The headline measures, which are a mixture of both subjective and objective measures, are those shown in this paper. In addition there are to be a series of domain level analyses which include more detail of the headline measures and other measures which describe aspects of the domain. By examining both objective and subjective measures together a more complete picture of national well-being can be formed. A number of these experimental domain analyses have already been published and can be seen on our publications page.

In October 2011 ONS published a discussion paper which proposed some experimental domains and measures. The full response to this consultation (524.4 Kb Pdf) is also published today. Following the ONS analysis of responses to this discussion paper a number of changes have been made to the originally proposed measures although the domains have remained the same for this iteration. It should be emphasised that there will be further development of domains and measures as the Measuring National Well-being Programme progresses. ONS would be very interested in your comments on these measures. Please email national

The reference tables, Domains and proposed measures (36.5 Kb Excel sheet)  and All domains and measures (2.12 Mb Excel sheet)  both show the current iteration of the domains and measures. The first table is for quick reference and the second table spreadsheet contains similar information together with much more detail. If you want to know more about the headline measures for a particular domain consult the spreadsheet or the domain analyses available on our publication page. On 24 July 2012, Measuring National Well-being have published articles on Health, Where we live and the first annual dataset for subjective well-being.

Individual domains containing additional data can be accessed either by clicking on the domain name on workbook A or by clicking on the individual, named workbook tabs. The spreadsheet may require macros to be enabled before links will work. Once this has been done the highlighted hyperlinks return to either workbook A or workbook B which contains the headline measure for each domain as in the preceding presentation table. Workbook B can also be accessed by clicking the National Well-being image. Each domain workbook also contain links to associated articles and web sites after the last item (in each workbook).

More about subjective well-being

To find out more about subjective well-being for residents in more local areas look at:

  • the interactive tool for comparing the subjective well-being of residents in specific areas in the UK. These include regions and countries within the UK and information about local authority areas within English regions, Wales and Scotland,

  • The map which compares information about local authority areas in England, Wales and Scotland.

About the ONS Measuring National Well-being Programme

This article is published as part of the ONS Measuring National Well-being Programme.

The programme aims to produce accepted and trusted measures of the well-being of the nation - how the UK as a whole is doing. It is about looking at 'GDP and beyond' and includes:

  • greater analysis of the national economic accounts, especially to understand household income, expenditure and wealth,

  • further accounts linked to the national accounts, including the UK Environmental Accounts and valuing household production and 'human capital',

  • quality of life measures, looking at different areas of national well-being such as health, relationships, job satisfaction, economic security, education environmental conditions,

  • working with others to include the measurement of the well-being of children and young people as part of national well-being,

  • measures of 'subjective well-being' - individuals' assessment of their own well-being,

  • headline indicators to summarise national well-being and the progress we are making as a society.

The programme is underpinned by a communication and engagement workstream, providing links with Cabinet Office and policy departments, international developments, the public and other stakeholders. The programme is working closely with Defra on the measurement of 'sustainable development' to provide a complete picture of national well-being, progress and sustainable development.

Find out more on the Measuring National Well-being website pages.

Background notes

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Get all the tables for this publication in the data section of this publication .
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