Stevenage people among happiest in UK, according to ONS survey

Looking over Stevenage, where a survey has indicated people are among the happiest in Britain. Pictu

Looking over Stevenage, where a survey has indicated people are among the happiest in Britain. Picture: JP Asher - Credit: Archant

People in Stevenage are among the happiest in the UK, according to a new survey from the Office for National Statistics.

The annual ONS survey, which covers the 12 months to the end of March, asked people aged 16 and over across the UK to rate four areas of their personal well-being.

Three of the areas – their happiness, life satisfaction and sense of the things they do in life being worthwhile – are ranked on a scale from zero to 10, with 10 being the highest.

The average happiness score for respondents in Stevenage was 7.87, one of the highest scores in the UK. This compared to an average UK score of 7.52.

The survey indicates that people in neighbouring North Hertfordshire are getting happier, with an average happiness score of 7.7 – while people in Central Bedfordshire are getting sadder, with a score of 7.45.

Overall, 83 per cent of people in Stevenage ranked their happiness between seven and ten – meaning either high or very high – compared to 75.4 per cent across the UK.

The happiest place in the UK this year was Rushmoor, in Hampshire.

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Since the survey began in 2011-12 happiness in the UK has been increasing year-on-year, but has slowed in recent years.

People in Stevenage have also been reporting higher levels of happiness as the years go by.

The levels of happiness this year were the highest since the survey began.

There were similarly positive results this year for the feeling of being worthwhile and life satisfaction, both of which were above the national average.

ONS quality of life team head Silvia Manclossi said: “An important part of our work is looking beyond the economic health of the country to how its people are faring and inequalities in society.

“Today, for the first time, we have identified how factors such as health, access to services and crime levels may affect how people rate their well-being in different parts of the UK.

“This can help local authorities and other organisations to better understand where services could be targeted to help improve the well-being of people in their area.”

A fourth question in the survey asks respondents to rank how anxious they felt on the previous day, with zero being ‘not at all anxious’ and 10 being ‘completely anxious’.

The population in Stevenage appears to have become less stressed over the last year, with anxiety levels dropping to 2.1 – below the UK average of 2.89.

The region coming out top in the well-being survey this year was Northern Ireland, which reported the lowest levels of anxiety and the highest levels of happiness, satisfaction and feelings of worthiness of any UK region for two years running.

The worst performing region across the board was London, while people in Wales also report lower than average satisfaction with their lives than the other nations of the UK.