Thurrock: The unhappiest place in Britain?
Date posted: 26-07-2012
IT LOOKS like we all need to move to Orkney as it has been rated the happiest place in Britain. In stark contrast to Thurrock that has been placed at the bottom of the table.
As part of the government’s attempts to develop an alternative measure of national performance to goss domestic product (GDP), the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published data exploring how happiness and anxiety levels vary according to factors including sex and ethnic group.
Responses by 165,000 people in the annual population survey reveal the average rating of “life satisfaction” in Britain is 7.4 out of 10 and 80% of people gave a rating of seven or more when asked whether the things they did in their lives were “worthwhile”.
Residents of the local authority of Eilean Siar, Orkney & Shetland recording the UK’s highest satisfaction levels of 8.1 out of 10 and Thurrock last at 7.09.
According to the findings, age is a key determinate in how people estimate their own wellbeing, with feelings of satisfaction highest among 16- to 19-year-olds and 65- to 69-year-olds and slumping in between. The number of people rating their anxiety the previous day as high or very high grows steadily from the 20s through to 55, when it drops off.
Relationships also play a big part, with 82% of people in marriages or civil partnerships giving high or medium life satisfaction ratings, followed by cohabiting couples on 79%, single people on 71% and divorced people on 60%. Women also rated slightly higher on both the “life satisfaction” and the “worthwhile” question, but reported an average level of 3.3 for anxiety, compared with men’s three.
Far more significant, however, appears to be the impact of work: not only not having it – which leads twice as many unemployed people to rate their satisfaction levels as low or very low as those in a job – but also what kind of work you do. The highest average life satisfaction was reported by those in professional occupations such as teaching, medicine or law and was lowest among “process, plant and machine operatives”.
The shadow Cabinet Office minister, Michael Dugher, derided the project as a “a statement of the bleeding obvious” and a waste of taxpayers’ money.
David Cameron announced the £2m Measuring National Wellbeing project in 2010 as a way, he said, of providing a more complete way of measuring the country’s progress than the traditional economic data and incorporating subjective issues such as quality of life into policy-making.