Personal wellbeing figures show variation across UK

The Office of National Statistics has released figures for how we estimate our life satisfaction, our sense that the things done in life are worthwhile, and our happiness and anxiety at the UK, country, regional and local authority level. The figures relate to March 2017-March 2018. The main fundings are:

At the UK and country level, between the years ending March 2017 and March 2018:

  • The average ratings across the four measures of personal well-being in the UK were unchanged.
  • Average ratings of feeling the things done in life are worthwhile increased in Scotland; this was driven by a higher percentage of people reporting very high levels for this measure. 
  • Compared with the UK, a larger percentage of people in Wales reported low levels of worthwhile and happiness; interestingly, a larger proportion of people in Wales reported both low levels of life satisfaction but also very high levels of life satisfaction, suggesting greater disparity in life satisfaction in Wales compared with the UK overall.
  • Compared with both the UK and the other countries, people in Northern Ireland continued to report better average ratings across all personal well-being measures.


The What Works Centre for Wellbeing says that their analysis of this personal wellbeing data identifies for the first time how factors such as health, access to services, and crime levels may affect how people rate their wellbeing in different parts of the UK. This in turn can help local authorities and other organisations to better understand where services could be targeted to help improve the wellbeing of people in their area.

Read the ONS report

Read the What Works Centre for Wellbeing assessment of the figures