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Christians in survey satisfied with life

17 April 2015


PEOPLE from black ethnic groups in the UK are less happy than those from white British, Chinese, or Indian ethnic backgrounds, who are the most likely to say that their lives feel worth while, the largest survey of national well-being ever undertaken suggests. People with an Arab or mixed ethnic background are much less likely to say that they are happy, the survey has found.

The data was collected by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) as part of a three-year study measuring personal well-being in the UK. When the data was broken down by religion, Christians emerged as having the highest life-satisfaction and happiness levels, followed by Jewish people. Muslims and Buddhists were found to be the least happy, after those who said that they had no religion at all.

Christians and Jewish people are most likely to report that they feel that the things they do in life are worth while, whereas Muslims and those who identify with no religion are the least likely to feel the things they do in life are worth while.

The ONS has been studying well-being levels among the population for the past three years. It found that, overall, British people were happier in the year up to December 2014 than they had been in the past two years, and that levels of anxiety were declining. Some 32.6 per cent rated their happiness level at 9, or 10 out of 10, in 2013-14 - up from 30.9 per cent in 2012-13.

Young people were found to be less likely than adults to feel that the things they did in life were worth while, but they were more likely to report higher feelings of life-satisfaction and happiness.

The rise in happiness levels came despite the fact that other measures, such as disposable income, had not increased.

Taking part in sport and voluntary activities was linked to higher levels of happiness, besides having good close relationships with family and friends.

Although we are generally living longer and healthier lives, the report suggests, a significant proportion of the population were found to have health concerns: three in ten people (31.4 per cent) were dissatisfied with their health, and about two in ten (18.8 per cent) reported having a long-term illness, or a disability that was either work-limiting, or limited their day-to-day activities, in the period July to September 2014.

A spokesperson for the ONS said: "The research suggests a resilience amongst the population, who have shown increases in personal well-being despite no improvements in what we do."

Some 305,000 adults aged over 16 were surveyed to collect the data.

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