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National well-being wheel of measures

As part of its work to develop new measures of national well-being, the Office for National Statistics has published a new wheel of measures based on the latest data available in March 2013.

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The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is working on “measuring what matters” by developing new measures of national well-being. The measures are intended to complement existing economic, social and environmental measures, including the proposed new sustainable development indicators, and provide a fuller picture of how society is doing.

Between October 2011 and January 2012, the ONS consulted on the first set of domains and measures for national well-being. A summary of findings was released in February 2012 and a revised set of measures published in July 2012. The measures will continue to be improved and consulted upon.

Measures of well-being across ten themes

The new wheel of measures provides the latest available data for 40 measures across 10 key themes of personal well-being, relationships, health, what we do, where we live, personal finance, education and skills, the economy, governance and the natural environment. Reported measures range from trust in national Government, through the rate of inflation and household waste recycling, to how worthwhile people find the things they do.

The wheel is available to download as a pdf and in an interactive version, providing comparative data across different time-frames and further details of the data presented:


In addition the ONS has published interactive graphs of the measures across the regions of the United Kingdon. Full details of the domains and measures are available to download.

What matters most to personal well-being

The ONS has also recently published findings on what matters most to people with regard to their personal well-being, using data collected through the Annual Population Survey between April 2011 and March 2012.

How people view their health was the most important factor related to personal well-being, followed by employment status and relationship status.

Factors related to personal well-being in interesting ways but to a lesser extent include:

  • Employees with higher wages from their job give higher ratings of life satisfaction on average than those earning less, but feelings that things were worthwhile, levels of happiness and anxiety were not related to earnings
  • People with the highest levels of educational attainment have higher ratings of anxiety on average than people with lower educational attainment
  • People in the black ethnic group rated their life satisfaction and happiness significantly lower on average than those in the white group

People’s sense of choice and contentment with their current situation also seem to be related to their levels of personal well-being.

Further reading

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