Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Reasons to Be Cheerful; Forget the Doom-and-Gloom Merchants Who Tell You It's Grim Up North, the Facts Don't Back That Up. in Its Annual Report on National Well-Being, the Office for National Statistics Says We're More Than Happy with Life. Jonathan Walker Reports

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Reasons to Be Cheerful; Forget the Doom-and-Gloom Merchants Who Tell You It's Grim Up North, the Facts Don't Back That Up. in Its Annual Report on National Well-Being, the Office for National Statistics Says We're More Than Happy with Life. Jonathan Walker Reports

Article excerpt

ONE in three North East people are "very happy" - and that's official.

But the bad news is that happiness levels are falling.

That's what the official figures show.

For the past four years, the Office for National Statistics, an official agency, has published an annual report on national "well-being".

It's an attempt to bring together all the facts and figures which might tell us - and the Government - whether we're living good lives or not.

And the latest report has just been published.

Some of the results are based on simply asking people people how they feel. The Office for National Statistics employs a small army of staff to go out and conduct surveys with members of the public.

One in three North East people are very happy Asked how happy they are, 33.1% of people in the North East said their happiness level was "very high".

That's not bad - it's almost a third of the population, even though it's down just a tiny bit from the year before.

The least happy place is London, with 31.2% of the population saying they are very happy.

The happiest place to live is Northern Ireland, where 41% of the population rate their happiness as "very high".

In second place is the East Midlands, where the figure is 36%. What makes us happy? Well, perhaps it has something to do with our relationships with other people.

And the report suggests the North East may have a stronger sense of community than anywhere else.

Because 86.5% of people in the region say they have "a spouse or partner, family member or friend to rely on if they have a serious problem".

That's higher than in any other region.

The place with the lowest number, once again, is London, where 79% of the population have a person to rely on if they have a serious problem.

For many people, living a good life is connected to having a job (or, at least, the money that goes with it).

The unemployment rate in the North East is the highest in the country.

Turn to Page 28 From Page 27 But how many of us actually like our jobs? …

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