Wellbeing is the one of the strongest determinants of an individual’s health: it fundamentally affects behaviour, social cohesion, social inclusion and prosperity.
In 2008, the New Economics Foundation (nef) was commissioned by the UK Government’s Foresight project on mental capital and wellbeing to review the inter-disciplinary work of over 400 scientists from across the world. The aim was to identify a set of evidence-based actions to improve wellbeing, which individuals would be encouraged to build into their daily lives. They came up with a list of 'Five Ways to Wellbeing':
Reported personal well-being at the UK level has improved every year since 2011/12 when data were first collected, suggesting that an increasing number of people in the UK are feeling positive about their lives. However, the rate of increase has slowed over the last two years.
At the top of the life satisfaction ratings in the UK, Craven (8.45 (+/- 0.29)) in the Yorkshire and Humberside region, North Warwickshire (8.36 (+/- 0.33)) in the West Midlands, and the Scottish Orkney Islands (8.25 (+/- 0.25), had the highest mean life satisfaction ratings. All of these rates were statistically significantly greater than the UK rate (7.68 (+/- 0.01)).
For the Lancashire-12 area (7.64 (+/- 0.12)), the average mean life satisfaction rating in 2016/17 was not statistically different to the UK rating (7.68 (+/- 0.01)). Since 2011/12, only the 2015/16 average life satisfaction rating for the Lancashire-12 area (7.45 (+/- 0.13)) has been significantly lower than the UK rating (7.65 (+/- 0.01)).
Blackpool (7.46 (+/- 0.14)) was the only Lancashire-14 area to have an average mean life satisfaction rating that was statistically significantly lower than the UK rating in 2016/17. Owing to the wide and overlapping confidence intervals, none of the remaining thirteen Lancashire-14 areas had average life satisfaction ratings that were statistically different to the UK rating or the England rating.
Wolverhampton (7.12 (+/- 0.13)) in the West Midlands, the London Borough of Lewisham (7.18 (+/- 0.22)) and Hertsmere (7.24 (+/- 0.35)), in the East of England, had the lowest life satisfaction estimates in the UK. Seven of the 33 London Boroughs were in the bottom 13 rankings. Liverpool (7.37 (+/-0.16)) was the only North West authority to appear in the lowest 13 positions.
The Measures of National Well-being dashboard summarises changes for each of the 41 individual indicators at the UK level over time.
The Mental Health and Wellbeing JSNA (2012) makes the following recommendations around wellbeing:
Life satisfaction personal well-being estimates, 2016/17 (PDF 1,001 KB)
Page updated November 2017