Considering the 43 national well-being indicators, 10 improved, 4 deteriorated and 22 stayed the same, compared with one year earlier.
Areas of life which are getting better have been dominated by the improving economic picture; more people are in work, real median household income and net national disposable income have both risen and fewer report finding it difficult to get by financially.
Emissions of greenhouse gases continue to fall and more energy is being consumed from renewable sources.
Despite continued improvements to the number of years we can expect to live in good health, the indicators for satisfaction with health and the proportions reporting some evidence of anxiety or depression have both deteriorated.
Although voter turnout increased at the most recent general election, there has been a fall in those reporting trust in their national government.
Fewer people felt that they belonged to their neighbourhood.Back to table of contents
Also released today:
national well-being measures dataset containing the latest data, time series data, the indicators broken down by age, sex and region where applicable, and quality information
the static wheel of measures “print and keep” version summarising the latest data and the assessments of change, compared with one year earlier
We are constantly reviewing our indicators in response to changing coverage, frequency and other quality considerations affecting our data sources. Please refer to background note 1 for a summary of changes to the indicators since the last update.Back to table of contents
In November 2010, we set up the Measuring National Well-being (MNW) programme. The aim was to monitor and report “how the UK as a whole is doing these days” by producing accepted and trusted measures of the well-being of the nation. Twice a year we report progress against a set of headline indicators covering areas including our health, natural environment, personal finances and crime. The measures include both objective data (for example, crimes against the person) and subjective data (for example, feeling safe walking alone after dark) in order to provide a more complete view of the nation than measures such as gross domestic product (GDP) can do alone.
This report is based on the most recent available data as of September 2016. It is important to recognise that the data underpinning the indicators are often from different sources with different timeliness and coverage. We therefore recommend looking at the dataset to provide further information on the sources for each indicator.Back to table of contents
This report includes assessments showing the direction of change for each of the measures, whether they have improved, shown no overall change, or deteriorated. Comparisons have been made with the previous year’s data, or the previously published figure where year-on-year data are not available, as well as an assessment of change over a 3-year period.
Looking at the 1-year change:
- 23% (10 measures) had improved
- 51% (22 measures) showed no overall change
- 16% (7 measures) were not assessed for this publication
- 9% (4 measures) had deteriorated
Over the 3-year period:
- 51% (22 measures) had improved
- 12% (5 measures) showed no overall change
- 19% (8 measures) were not assessed for this publication
- 19% (8 measures) had deteriorated
A number of measures have not been assessed, either because data are not available for comparison, or where the direction of change is not a clear indication of either improvement or deterioration.Back to table of contents
Areas of life which are getting better include our personal finances and the economy, where real median household income and net national disposable income have both risen, the unemployment rate has fallen and fewer people are reporting finding it difficult to get by financially. In other areas of life the number of crimes against the person continues to fall, voter turnout at the most recent general election improved and human capital – the value of individuals’ skills, knowledge and competences in the labour market showed an increase, surpassing its pre-economic downturn peak for the first time. Improvements have also been seen across environmental measures. Both greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumed from renewable sources are improving as they move towards their respective international targets.Back to table of contents
Not all areas of our lives are getting better. Despite continued improvements to the number of years we can expect to live in good health, the indicators for satisfaction with health and the proportions reporting some evidence of anxiety or depression have both deteriorated. Although voter turnout increased at the most recent general election, there has been a fall in those reporting trust in their national government. This measure was collected in May 2016 and therefore does not reflect the result of the EU referendum. It does however reflect how people were feeling in the period leading up to it, during the campaign. Fewer people also reported feelings that they belonged to their neighbourhood compared with one year earlier.
There are a number of indicators which remain unchanged and of these personal well-being is perhaps the most notable. There were no annual improvements in those reporting the highest ratings of personal well-being, covering levels of life satisfaction, worthwhile, happiness and anxiety, between the financial years (April to March) ending 2015 and 2016.Back to table of contents
In September 2015, world leaders came together to express their commitment to an ambitious agenda to eradicate poverty, halt climate change and reduce inequalities over the next 15 years. At the heart of this agenda are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are underpinned by 169 global targets and 231 global indicators.
The UN will report global progress towards SDGs, using aggregated data. However, all countries will be encouraged to report their own progress towards the SDGs and targets. We are responsible for the official reporting of UK data.
In November 2016, we will be launching an open consultation to seek views on proposed national indicators for SDGs and a framework for reporting. We recognise that the measuring national well-being and SDGs agendas are closely related and will continue to consider how the two fit together when developing plans for reporting UK progress. (Update 30 January 2017 – ONS took the decision to postpone the consultation on the SDGs originally scheduled to launch on 29 November 2016. This consultation is an important element of the UK's work on the SDGs. We also recognise that the SDGs are a very important agenda and we want more time to consider fully all the material received from stakeholders. We will be launching the consultation in due course, probably in the Spring.)Back to table of contents
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