We are less satisfied with both our income and our health

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In May 2013, the Measuring National Well-being programme highlighted that the factors most strongly associated with personal well-being are self-reported health (which had the strongest association), employment status and relationship status. The ‘Life in the UK 2014’ report shows that since 2010 the proportion satisfied with their health has fallen (from 68.3% in 2009/10 to 58.6% in 2011/12), a smaller proportion of the economically active are unemployed (7.2% in October to December 2013 down from 7.8% in October to December 2010) and most have someone to rely on in a crisis (87.0% in 2010/11).

The Measuring National Well-being national debate highlighted a range of other things that ‘mattered’, for example, economic security and job satisfaction, work-life balance, education and training, and local and natural environment.

Life in the UK 2014 shows that the majority (77.0%) were satisfied with their lives in the UK in 2012/13, an increase from 75.9% in 2011/12.

In 2011–12 median household income in Great Britain was £23,208. Between 2010/11 and 2011/12 the proportion in the UK satisfied with their income fell (from 57.3% to 52.9%) and around 1 in 10 (10.9% in 2011/12) reported finding it difficult to get by financially. Over the same period, the proportion satisfied with their job remained around 77% while the proportion satisfied with the amount of leisure time fell from 60.9% to 58.8%.

In England the proportion engaging with the arts or cultural activities remained at around 8 in 10 (83.2% in 2012/13) and participation in sport at 35.7% in 2012–13. The proportion volunteering more than once in the last 12 months in the UK in 2010/11 was 16.7%.

In the UK in 2011/12, around 6 in 10 (59%) had 5 or more GCSEs Grade A* to C including English and Maths and in 2013 nearly 1 in 10 (9.3%) had no formal educational qualifications. Human Capital – which is the value of individuals, skills, knowledge and competences in the labour market fell between 2011 and 2012 from £18.0 trillion to £17.9 trillion.

The number of crimes against the person in England and Wales – fell between 2011/12 and 2012/13 (from 83 to 76 per 1,000 adults) and in 2011/12, fewer of us (62.9%) in the UK felt a sense of belonging to our neighbourhood, compared with 66.0% in 2009/10. The proportion of household waste recycled in England remained at around 43% between 2011/12 and 2012/13 but this represents a large growth since 2000/01 where only 11.2% was recycled.

The proportion who trust in Government was 1 in 4 (24%) in the UK in Autumn 2013. Voter turnout in UK general elections, though higher in 1950, has remained at around 6 in 10 for the last two General Elections (61.1% in 2010).

Internationally, the report shows that the UK ranks above the EU average in areas such as life satisfaction, recycling rates, trust in Government and satisfaction with accommodation. The UK are below the EU average in households making ends meet, perceived health status, and support if needed advice about a serious personal or family matter.

The Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress (Stiglitz, Sen, Fitoussi, 2009) stimulated interest in well-being and highlighted the need to acknowledge that people value things differently. In keeping with this, the priority or weight placed on any one measure or domain, or ‘what matters’ and what this means for UK well-being overall has not been included at this stage. The Measuring National Well-being programme is developing methods to aid users to interpret changes to National Well-being.

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