Personal well-being in the UK: local authority update, 2015 to 2016

Estimates of personal well-being for UK local authorities from the financial year ending 2012 to financial year ending 2016.

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Email Eleanor Rees

Release date:
27 September 2016

Next release:
To be announced

1. Main points

This publication presents estimates of personal well-being for UK local authorities over the last 5 years.

For the first time we have published interactive tools which allow you to explore how personal well-being has changed in your area over the 5 year period, to compare multiple areas at once and to compare your local area to the UK overall.

It follows the publication of headline personal well-being estimates for the UK, in July of this year.

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2. Statistician’s quote

We have seen personal well-being improving on a UK-wide basis over the past five years. But today's data paints a richer picture, enabling people to explore what's been happening in their local area. This will help individuals, communities and local authorities to look at well-being locally alongside other traditional measures of progress.

Dawn Snape, Quality of Life, Office for National Statistics

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3. Background information

After extensive public consultation, we identified 10 aspects of life (or domains) that people said mattered to their well-being. These include: personal well-being, our relationships, our health, the economy, and the environment. The National Well-being measures report on indicators for all of these and have done since 2012. They are updated every 6 months with the latest picture across the UK.

When collected over time, personal well-being data can provide an indication of how the well-being of a nation is changing. Since 2011, we have asked personal well-being questions to adults in the UK, to better understand how they feel about their lives. The personal well-being questions are a part of the wider Measuring National Well-being programme, which aims to look beyond gross domestic product (GDP) at what matters most to people in the UK.

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4. Things you need to know

The 4 personal well-being questions are:

  • overall, how satisfied are you with your life nowadays?
  • overall, to what extent do you feel the things you do in your life are worthwhile?
  • overall, how happy did you feel yesterday?
  • overall, how anxious did you feel yesterday?

People are asked to respond on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is “not at all” and 10 is “completely”.

Every year since 2011, a large sample of UK adults aged 16 and over has answered these questions. We produce estimates of the mean ratings for all 4 personal well-being questions, as well as their distributions, using the thresholds that can be found in background note 1.

Previous research has shown health, relationships and employment are all factors that matter to personal well-being, however it is also important to consider each area's local circumstances, when looking at the well-being of local authorities.

Personal well-being data will now be included within the main Annual Population Survey (APS) dataset rather than released as a separate dataset. As a result of this, it has been necessary to revise the personal well-being series. For more information see Impact of transition to Annual Population Survey dataset.

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5. How do people rate their personal well-being in your area?

Personal Well-being Explorer, financial years ending 2012 to 2016

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  1. Comparisons between areas should be done so with caution as these estimates are provided from a sample survey. Confidence intervals should be taken into account when assessing differences.

Personal Well-being Interactive Maps, financial years ending 2012 to 2016

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  1. Comparisons between areas should be done so with caution as these estimates are provided from a sample survey. Confidence intervals should be taken into account when assessing differences.
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7. Quality and methodology

The Personal Well-being in the UK Quality and Methodology Information document contains important information on:

  • the strengths and limitations of the data
  • the quality of the output: including the accuracy of the data, how it compares with related data
  • uses and users
  • how the output was created
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.Background notes

  1. Labelling of thresholds

  2. The UK Statistics Authority has designated these statistics as National Statistics, in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

    Designation can be broadly interpreted to mean that the statistics:

    • meet identified user needs
    • are well explained and readily accessible
    • are produced according to sound methods
    • are managed impartially and objectively in the public interest

Once statistics have been designated as National Statistics it is a statutory requirement that the Code of Practice shall continue to be observed.

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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

Eleanor Rees
Telephone: +44 (0)1633 651631