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Measuring national well-being: first results, exploratory articles, interactive tool and map

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The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published the first annual experimental subjective well-being results under the Measuring National Well-being programme:

Glenn Everett, Programme Director for Measuring National Well-being Programme explained the aim of the programme:

“By examining and analysing both objective statistics as well as subjective information, a more complete picture of National Well-being can be formed. Understanding people’s views of well-being is an important addition to existing Official Statistics and has potential uses in the policy making process and to aid other decision making.”

The first annual experimental subjective well-being results illustrate this. The results show, for example, that 45 per cent of unemployed people rated their ‘life satisfaction’ as below 7 out of 10. This is over twice as much than for employed people, 20 per cent of whom described their life satisfaction as below 7 out of 10. This shows additional effects of unemployment on people, over and above material dimensions that can be measured objectively.

Exploratory articles

Alongside the results the ONS has published articles exploring in more detail the impact of where we live and our health on our sense of well-being.

The impact of where we live is demostrated by a higher proportion of adults who owned their own property, either outright or with a mortgage, reporting a medium/high level of life satisfaction (around 8 out of 10) than those with other tenures (around two thirds or 68%).

During the national debate about Measuring National Well-being the most common response from people about what affected their well-being was health. Those that report that they have health problems do not always report low levels of life satisfaction: about two in five report a medium or high level of life satisfaction. Similarly those who report good health do not always report high levels of life satisfaction: about 1 in 5 reports a low or very low level of satisfaction with their lives.

Assessing well-being

The ONS has also set out the domains and measures which will be henceforth used for assessing well-being:

The revised set of measures for monitoring National Well-being follow consideration of 1,800 responses to the consultation on proposed domains and headline measures.

Comparing subjective well-being

An interactive tool allows comparisons of subjective well-being of residents in specific areas in the UK, including regions, countries and local authority areas within English:

Mapping subjective well-being

Subjective well-being in local authority areas in England, Wales and Scotland is also illustrated in an interactive map:


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