Goodness Knows Why, but Most People in the UK Feel Quite Happy; SURVEY SHOWS WE GIVE LIFE AT LEAST SEVEN OUT OF 10

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Byline: BRENDAN HUGHES

NATIONWIDE strikes, constant crisis in the eurozone, increased government borrowing and years of austerity should make for a miserable Britain.

But in spite of the gloomy economic news and social disorder, the majority of people in the UK are still happy, a major new Government survey has found.

The first ever Office for National Statistics (ONS) study of well-being has shown 76% of people rated themselves as at least seven out of 10 when asked to gauge how satisfied they were with life.

The poll of 4,200 adults showed the figure rose to 78% when people were asked to rate the extent to which they feel the things they do in life are worthwhile.

And a further 73% rated themselves as seven or more out of 10 when asked how happy they felt yesterday.

Well-being experts in Wales welcomed the UK study, saying surveys in this area should be used to inform future government policies.

Dafydd Thomas is the executive director of Wellbeing Wales, a new charity organisation set to be officially launched on Tuesday, December 6. "At the end of the day, this information is helping is to understand how society is now so that we can invest appropriately," he said. "It's just about getting the evidence and turning it into policy decisions."

He added: "Society is complicated and stuff like this sheds light on it. Looking at how we can improve the well-being of society in Wales is a noble goal and strikes a chord."

The findings are the first set of experimental results on subjective well-being from the ONS following David Cameron's launch of the national well-being programme last November. Continuous polling took place between April and August, with the exception of May.

Respondents were asked how satisfied they were with life; how happy they felt yesterday; how anxious they felt yesterday; and to what extent they felt their lives were worthwhile.

The survey showed younger and older people reported more positive outlooks on life on average compared with people in their middle years.

People's overall happiness increased with how well they rated their health.

Having a partner was also positively associated with life satisfaction and happiness ratings. …