Public opinions and social trends, Great Britain: 12 to 23 October 2022

Social insights on daily life and events, including the cost of living, working arrangements and well-being from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN).

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Contact:
Email Ben Harris, Matt Dennes, Bonang Lewis, Tim Vizard

Release date:
28 October 2022

Next release:
11 November 2022

1. Main points

The following information is on the latest period from 12 to 23 October 2022, based on adults in Great Britain.

  • Around 9 in 10 (93%) reported their cost of living had increased compared with a year ago, while a lower percentage (80%) reported an increase in their cost of living over the last month.

  • Around 8 in 10 (79%) adults were very or somewhat worried about the rising cost of living (77% in the previous period).

  • The most common actions reported by all adults because of the rising cost of living were spending less on non-essentials (67%), and using less fuel, such as gas or electricity in their homes (63%).

  • Around 1 in 50 (2%) adults reported that they are using support from charities, including foodbanks, because of the increase in the cost of living.

  • Around half (48%) of adults with a mortgage reported being very or somewhat worried about changes in mortgage interest rates.

  • Around half (52%) of all adults reported feeling very or fairly unsure about the future; this is an increase since we last asked this question in the period 14 to 25 September 2022 (41%).

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2. Cost of living

Estimates in this release are based on data collected between 12 and 23 October 2022 (the "latest period") and 29 September to 9 October 2022 (the "previous period").

Cost of living increases

In this period, we asked adults about changes to their cost of living. Around 9 in 10 (93%) reported their cost of living had increased compared with a year ago. Around 8 in 10 (80%) reported an increase in their cost of living over the last month, an increase from 62% when we first asked about this in the period 3 to 14 November 2021.

The main reasons reported by adults for the rise in their cost of living over the past month were an increase in:

  • the price of food shopping (92%)
  • their gas or electricity bills (78%)
  • the price of fuel (46%)

The most common actions reported by all adults because of the rising cost of living were spending less on non-essentials (67%) and using less fuel such as gas or electricity in their home (63%). Around 1 in 50 (2%) adults reported that they are using support from charities including foodbanks because of the increase in the cost of living.

Around 8 in 10 (79%) adults reported being very or somewhat worried about rising costs of living in the past two weeks (77% in the previous period).

Energy bills

Around 4 in 10 (42%) adults who pay energy bills said they found it very or somewhat difficult to afford them in the latest period (43% in the previous period). Our Impact of increased cost of living on adults across Great Britain: June to September 2022 article provides more detail on the characteristics associated with having difficulty affording energy bills.

Among those who reported they have gas or electricity supplied to their home, 3% reported they were behind on these bills (4% in the previous period). This proportion has appeared to be relatively stable since we first started asking this question in March 2022.

There are strong seasonal spending patterns relating to gas and electricity that may affect the results in this section. For more information on this and recent price rises for gas and electricity, please see our latest Consumer price inflation bulletin for September 2022.

Rent or mortgage payments

In this period, we asked respondents a range of questions about their mortgage and rental payments, changes to their rent or mortgage payments and how worried or unworried mortgage holders are about changes in interest rates.

Around one-third (32%) of those who are currently paying rent or mortgage payments reported that these payments have gone up in the last six months (33% in the previous period).

Around one-third (33%) of those who are currently paying rent or mortgage payments reported that they are finding it very or somewhat difficult to make these payments (30% in the previous period).

The Impact of increased cost of living on adults across Great Britain: June to September 2022 article explores the impact that increases in the cost of living have had on mortgage holders and renters in more detail, including characteristics of adults who are experiencing difficulty or are behind with mortgage and rent payments.

Interest rate changes

This period, for the first time, we report how worried or unworried adults currently paying off a mortgage or property loan are about rising interest rates. Around half (48%) of adults with a mortgage reported being very or somewhat worried about the change in mortgage interest rates, and around 2 in 10 (21%) reported being somewhat unworried or not at all worried. The proportion of adults with a mortgage who were very or somewhat worried was highest for those aged 50 to 69 (57%) and those aged 30 to 49 (55%).

There were differences in the proportions of adults who were very or somewhat worried depending on the type of mortgage they held:

  • around 7 in 10 (70%) adults with a variable-rate mortgage 
  • around half (52%) of adults with a fixed-rate mortgage
  • around 3 in 10 (30%) adults with another type of mortgage 
  • around 1 in 7 (14%) adults that do not know what type of mortgage they have

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3. Working arrangements

Cost of living impacts on work

This period, we asked working adults how the increasing cost of living was affecting their work. Most working adults (57%) reported they were not doing anything differently in terms of their work situation because of increases in the cost of living (61% in the previous period).

The impacts on work most reported by working adults because of increases in the cost of living were:

  • looking for a job that pays more money, including a promotion (20% in both the latest period and the previous period)

  • working more hours than usual in their main job (18% in the latest period and 15% in the previous period)

Location of work

Around 7 in 10 (72%) working adults travelled to work at some point in the past seven days (70% in the previous period). This includes:

  • 48% who only travelled to work in the past seven days (48% in the previous period)
  • 24% who reported both working from home and travelling to work (hybrid working) in the past seven days (22% in the previous period)

Around 13% of working adults said they worked from home exclusively in the past seven days (11% in the previous period). A further 15% neither travelled to work nor worked from home (19% in the previous period).

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4. Worries, personal well-being and loneliness

Perceptions about the future

In this period, we asked adults how they are feeling about the future in response to the times we are living in now. We last asked this question during the period 14 to 25 September 2022.

  • Around half (52%) of all adults reported feeling very or fairly unsure about the future (an increase from 41%, during 14 to 25 September 2022).

  • Around 18% of all adults reported being very or fairly sure about the future (a decrease from 26%, during 14 to 25 September 2022).

  • Around 3 in 10 (30%) of all adults reported being neither sure nor unsure about the future (similar to 33%, during 14 to 25 September 2022).

Worries

This period, we continued to ask respondents how worried they were about a range of issues, including the conflict in Ukraine, increases in the cost of living, the environment, and the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on their lives.

The most reported worries (being very or somewhat worried) were:

  • the rising cost of living (79% in the latest period and 77% in the previous period)

  • the conflict in Ukraine (72% in both the latest and previous period)

Personal well-being

This period, we continued to ask respondents about their personal well-being. Average levels of personal well-being were:

  • life satisfaction: 6.9 in the latest period (6.9 in the previous period)
  • feeling that the things done in life are worthwhile: 7.2 in the latest period (7.3 in the previous period)
  • happiness: 7.0 in the latest period (6.9 in the previous period)
  • anxiety: 4.1 in the latest period (4.1 in the previous period)

On 3 October 2022, we launched a review of the existing Measures of National Well-being and the national well-being data communication tools. You can share your feedback and contribute to the review by filling in our online survey, which is open until 9 December 2022. You can learn more about the Measures of National Well-being from our Quality of life in the UK: August 2022 bulletin.

Figure 4: Levels of personal well-being remained relatively stable in the latest period

Adults in Great Britain, March 2020 to October 2022

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Notes:
  1. Questions included: "Overall, how satisfied are you with your life nowadays?", "Overall, to what extent do you feel that the things you do in your life are worthwhile?", "Overall, how happy did you feel yesterday?", and "Overall, how anxious did you feel yesterday?"
  2. These questions are answered on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is "not at all" and 10 is "completely".
  3. Base: all adults.
Download the data

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Loneliness

Around one-quarter (27%) of adults reported feeling lonely always, often, or some of the time in the latest period (25% in the previous period).

For further estimates on people's personal well-being and loneliness, including breakdowns by age, sex and trends over time, please see our Personal well-being and loneliness dataset.

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5. Actions taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses

Our Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest insights tool provides a roundup of the latest data and trends about the coronavirus pandemic from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) and other sources.

Further estimates regarding the actions taken to reduce the spread and the social impacts of COVID-19 and other illnesses, with trends over time and breakdowns by age and sex, can be found in our Coronavirus (COVID-19) and other illnesses dataset.

More about coronavirus

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7. Measuring the data

This release contains data and indicators from a module being undertaken through the Office for National Statistics' (ONS) Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN).

From the period 30 March to 10 April 2022, changes were made to the OPN to enable us to provide ongoing indicators on a wide range of public opinions and societal issues. For more information about these changes on our methods, please see our Opinions and Lifestyle Survey Quality and Methodology Information (QMI) report.

Breakdowns by age and sex, including confidence intervals for the estimates, are contained in our Public opinion and social trends, Great Britain datasets.

Where changes in results from previous weeks are presented in this bulletin or comparisons between estimates are made, associated confidence intervals should be used to assess the statistical significance of the differences.

Sampling and weighting

In the latest period (12 to 23 October 2022), we sampled 4,982 households. This sample was randomly selected from those who had previously completed the Labour Market Survey (LMS) or OPN. The responding sample for the latest period contained 2,173 individuals, representing a 44% response rate.

Survey weights were applied to make estimates representative of the population (based on ONS population estimates). Further information on the survey design and quality can be found in our Opinions and Lifestyle Survey QMI.

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9. Cite this statistical bulletin

Office for National Statistics (ONS), released 28 October 2022, ONS website, statistical bulletin, Public opinions and social trends, Great Britain: 12 to 23 October 2022

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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

Ben Harris, Matt Dennes, Bonang Lewis, Tim Vizard
policy.evidence.analysis@ons.gov.uk
Telephone: +44 3000 671543