ResearchPersonal wellbeing in the UK: ONS statistics reveal increase in anxiety levels

ONS shares its latest data on estimates of life satisfaction, feeling that the things done in life are worthwhile, happiness and anxiety in the UK.
Content Team1 month ago4 min

Personal wellbeing in the UK deteriorated in the year ending March 2021, in what was the greatest decline since the survey started a decade ago.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), average ratings across all indicators declined during the reporting year.

The personal wellbeing survey looked at estimates of life satisfaction, the feeling that the things done in life are worthwhile, and happiness and anxiety at the UK, country, regional, county and local authority level.

Worryingly, data showed that anxiety ratings increased in all countries and regions of the UK when compared with the previous period, apart from Northern Ireland and the North East. The largest increases were in the West Midlands and the North West.

Main points from the ONS data

  • Average ratings of well-being have deteriorated across all indicators in the year ending March 2021, continuing a trend that was seen across most indicators in the previous period, but even more sharply, and which notably takes place entirely during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
  • The most recent annual declines in personal well-being in the UK were the greatest we have seen since we started measuring personal well-being for life satisfaction (0.27 point decline), anxiety (0.26 point increase), happiness (0.17 point decline) and feeling that the things done in life are worthwhile (0.15 point decline).
  • Average ratings of anxiety increased in all countries and regions of the UK compared with the previous period apart from Northern Ireland and the North East, with the largest increases being in the West Midlands (0.44 point increase) and the North West (0.38 point increase).
  • Average ratings of happiness declined in all countries and regions of the UK compared with the previous period apart from the North East and the East Midlands, with the largest decreases being in the West Midlands (0.22 point decrease) and Yorkshire and The Humber (0.20 point decrease).
  • Average ratings of life satisfaction declined in all countries and regions of the UK compared with the previous period, with the largest decreases being in Northern Ireland (0.32 point decrease) and Yorkshire and The Humber (0.31 point decrease).
  • Average ratings of feeling that the things done in life are worthwhile declined in all countries and regions of the UK apart from the North East, with the largest decrease being in the South East (0.19 point decrease).

To unpick the data in full – click here.

More content on wellbeing in the UK here.

Content Team

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