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UK anxiety levels mount in 2016

20 January 2017

PA

Global-security impact: Owen Richards and his mother, Suzanne, leave the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Monday, during the inquest into the deaths of 30 Britons in a terrorist attack on a beach near Sousse, Tunisia, in June, 2015. Mr Richards survived the attack; his brother, Joel, and uncle, Adrian Evans, were among the 38 people who were killed

Global-security impact: Owen Richards and his mother, Suzanne, leave the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Monday, during the inquest into the deat...

PEOPLE in the UK are as happy and fulfilled as they were a year ago, but “uncertainties surrounding governance, the economy, and global security” may have increased national anxiety in this time, new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggest.

The data was published last Friday, as part of ongoing research by the ONS on personal well-being, which began in 2011. Surveys regarding satisfaction, feeling worthwhile, happiness, and anxiety were collected from a sample of about 158,000 participants of the Annual Population Survey.

Over the past five years, happiness, fulfilment, and satisfaction levels have risen significantly, while anxieties have increased marginally, the data suggests. On average, participants rated their level of anxiety in the year to September as 2.9 out of 10, down from 3.1 in 2011. This was compared with a rating of 7.7 for life satisfaction, 7.8 for feeling worthwhile, and 7.5 for happiness in 2016.

“It is possible the lack of improvement in three of the four personal well-being measures and increase in anxiety in this period compared with this period last year could be associated with the uncertainties surrounding governance, the economy and global security,” the report states.

“For example, the latest period covered by these data included campaigning for the EU referendum, as well as three months post-EU referendum. In addition, there was severe flooding across parts of the UK and numerous terror attacks around the world.”

But a statistician at ONS, Matthew Steel, warned: “At a time when economic measures are generally improving, this is not necessarily reflected in how people tell us they are feeling about their lives. Whilst it is too early to say why anxiety ratings have increased slightly, and why life satisfaction, happiness, and worthwhile ratings have levelled off in the past 12 months, we know from our previous research that factors impacting most on people’s personal well-being include health, work situation, and relationship status.”

Data for the report is due to be published quarterly.

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity

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