A decade of subjective wellbeing data

Think back 10 years to 2011. This was a year in which riots broke out across England, there was a royal wedding, the start of the Arab spring and when Game of Thrones first hit our screens. How were you feeling back then? And how does that compare with how you are feeling today? Is life better or worse? Are you happier or more stressed?

This week’s blog comes from the Centre’s Head of Evidence, Deborah Hardoon, who talks about what we have learned from 10 years of ONS subjective wellbeing data. The ‘personal wellbeing’ domain asks people directly to give their own accounts of how they are doing and how they are feeling. Individuals are their own judge of their wellbeing, taking into account everything that matters to them, regardless of how they might appear to others. This makes it a powerful, important and democratic measure for how society is doing overall, complementing the more objective and domain based indicators included in the framework.

… With a decade’s worth of data, we can see that since then, on average, wellbeing in the UK has got a bit better, with all four measures showing a small but steady improvement.

However, the improvement came to an abrupt halt in March 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic hit all of the drivers of wellbeing, from our health to our relationships…Read more

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