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British people are not as happy as the Danes are

21 March 2014

by a staff reporter


Bubbly: the Amalienborg fountain in front of Frederik's Kirche, in Copenhagen SHUTTERSTOCK

Bubbly: the Amalienborg fountain in front of Frederik's Kirche, in Copenhagen SHUTTERSTOCK

BRITONS are now more satisfied with their lives, reporting an increased sense of well-being, despite falling income levels and worsening health, new research from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has found. The ONS, which has been measuring well-being since 2010, uses a range of measures to estimate the nation's well-being.

The new statistics found that, in 2012-13, 77 per cent of adults aged 16 and over rated their life satisfaction at between seven and ten out of ten, whereas in 2011-12 it was 75.9 per cent. Across Europe, the average number of those expressing high life-satisfaction was 69.3 per cent, although Denmark scored 91.

Eighty per cent of Britons thought that the things they did in their lives were worth while. Teenagers and the newly retired (those aged 65-79) were more likely to rate their sense of personal well-being highly, compared with people in midlife (45-54). Women tended to have a higher life-satisfaction than men, as did people in the south-west of England compared with those in the north-east.

Happy relationships are central to a sense of well-being, and 87 per cent of people said that they had friends or relatives they could rely on if they had a serious problem. But fewer people in the survey felt they belonged in their communities, down from 66 to 62.9 per cent.

The number of people satisfied with their health had fallen. More people in their 20s and 30s said they were finding it very difficult to get by financially, and one in ten said they were struggling - a slight drop from 12.3 per cent in 2009-10.

Less than one in four Britons trust the Government, but this is slightly higher than the EU average: in Spain it is just nine per cent.

The ONS said: "The report shows that the UK ranks above the EU average in life satisfaction, trust in government, and satisfaction with accommodation." But "it is below the EU average on making ends meet, perceived health status, and support if needing advice about a serious personal or family matter."

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