As part of a commitment to measure well-being and happiness alongside GDP, Britain’s Office of National Statistic conducted a wellbeing population survey that compared happiness and anxiety levels by several demographic factors, including sex, age, and ethnicity. The study included four subjective well-being questions:
The results were just released and the average level of satisfaction in Britain is 7.4 out of 10. This result seems to be consistent with other indicators, like the OECD Better Life Index, where 75 percent of Britons said they have more positive experiences than negative experiences on average per day. A couple of highlights:
While much of the data seems intuitive, it is important to have the statistical backing to show why we need to expand our metrics beyond GDP. For instance, the survey shows that people who are unemployed are significantly less satisfied, which could provide the data needed to push for employment programs rather than focusing on austerity measures.
Likewise, people that work less are more happy, indicating that policies encouraging a work-life balance would have strong support. As Cameron said when explaining the initiative, “Wellbeing can't be measured by money or traded in markets. It's about the beauty of our surroundings, the quality of our culture and, above all, the strength of our relationships. Improving our society's sense of wellbeing is, I believe, the central political challenge of our times."