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Most children are happy, particularly with their family and friends

Only 4% reported being unhappy with their lives overall

The Office for National Statistics’ Measuring National Well-being Programme, which aims to produce accepted and trusted measures of the well-being of the UK, held a national debate on ‘What matters to you?’ in 2011. Many respondents said that their children’s well-being was very important to them. During the debate children were asked what was important to their overall well-being. They reported that their family, friends, school and appearance were very important.

In 2010–11 children aged 10 to 15 who took part in Understanding Society; the United Kingdom Household Longitudinal Study, were asked about how happy they were with their lives as a whole, and with their friends, family, school, school work and appearance.

Nearly nine in ten children said that they were relatively happy with their lives overall and only 4% reported being relatively unhappy. Children were most positive about their friends (96% relatively happy) and family (95% relatively happy) and least positive about their appearance (75% relatively happy). ‘Relatively happy’ refers to completely, mostly and somewhat happy.

Just over a third of children were completely happy with their lives overall (34%). However, well over half of respondents were completely happy with their friends (56%) and family (62%). By contrast, less than one in five respondents were completely happy with their school work or appearance (both 19%).

Figure 1: Reported level of children's happiness with life overall and aspects of their lives, (1), 2010–11

United Kingdom

Figure 1: Reported level of children's happiness with life overall and aspects of their lives, (1), 2010–11

Notes:

  1. Children aged 10 to 15 were asked 'How do you feel about your .... life as a whole, friends, family, school. school work, appearance?' Responses were on a seven point scale from 'completely happy' to 'not at all happy'

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Roughly the same proportion of boys and girls were relatively happy with their family. However, a higher percentage of boys than girls reported being relatively happy with life as a whole, their friends and their appearance. A higher percentage of girls than boys said they were relatively happy with their school and school work.

Figure 2: Reported level of children's happiness with life overall and aspects of their lives by sex, (1), 2010–11

United Kingdom

Figure 2: Reported level of children's happiness with life overall and aspects of their lives by sex, (1), 2010–11

Notes:

  1. Children aged 10 to 15 were asked 'How do you feel about your .... life as a whole, friends, family, school, school work, appearance?' Responses were on a seven point scale from 'completely happy' to 'not at all happy'

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The overall findings about aspects of children's lives are similar to those found by the Children's Society on its 2012 research.

Further information

Some other aspects of children’s well-being were discussed in the article ‘Measuring National Wellbeing - Children’s Well-being, 2012’ (October 2012). The paper ‘Review of available sources and measures for children and young people’s wellbeing’ (January 2013) gives information about data which already exist and discusses some of the limitations of these data. Find these and more information about the Programme on the Measuring National Well-being publication page.

A more detailed analysis of different aspects of children’s lives and well-being can be found in The Good Childhood Report, 2012 (Children’s Society).

 

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Categories: Families, Communities, People
Content from the Office for National Statistics.
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