Measuring happiness: how is the ONS getting on?


  • Author: Statistics Views
  • Date: 14 May 2013
  • Copyright: Image appear courtesy of iStock Photo

As reported last November, The Office for National Statistics has been attempting to find out how happy we are. Prime Minister David Cameron asked the ONS in 2010 to somehow measure how happy the UK was as part of a year wellbeing project costing £2 million.

thumbnail image: Measuring happiness: how is the ONS getting on?

Yesterday as part of the National Wellbeing project, the ONS released the results on comparing the UK economy with other countries as the ONS have found that the economy is a key consideration when attempting to measure National Well-being and comparing the relative performance of different countries is an important aspect.

In international comparisons of household income, for example, the UK has dropped from 5th place in 2005 to 12th place in 2011. This is partly as a result of the devaluation of sterling seen in this period. Since 2009 inflation has remained high compared to the US, France and Germany but has been relatively less volatile. Despite falling 12 places between 2005 and 2011 when looking at rankings based on unemployment, the UK labour market has been more resilient than in previous recessions.

When we consider every-day household spending and wealth, the UK has remained relatively strong compared with other OECD countries and despite falling two places in the rankings since 2005, the UK still fares relatively better under Net National Income than Gross Domestic Product.

Professor David Hand, who has recently been appointed as a non-executive director of the UK Statistics Authority will talk about the National Wellbeing project in an interview posted on next week.

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