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Why measure well-being?

It has long been argued that the progress of the country should not be measured by looking just at growth in gross domestic product (GDP). For a full picture of how a country is doing, we need to look at wider measures of economic and social progress, including the impact on the environment.

Developing better measures of well-being and progress is a common international goal. At the 2007 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) World Forum, a declaration was issued calling for the production of high-quality facts-based information that can be used by all of society to form a shared view of national well-being and its evolution over time. This was followed at the European level by the European Commission communication on Beyond GDP. The international well-being agenda also gained momentum following the landmark report in 2009 from the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress.

Within the UK, there is a commitment to developing wider measures of well-being so that government policies can be more tailored to the things that matter.

Wider and systematic consideration of well-being has the potential to lead to better decisions by government, markets and the public and, as such, better outcomes.

Content from the Office for National Statistics.
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