The following information is for the latest survey period 5 April to 16 April 2023, based on adults in Great Britain.
When asked about the important issues facing the UK today, the most commonly reported issues continue to be the cost of living (92%), the NHS (85%), the economy (73%), and climate change and the environment (64%).
Around half of adults reported that they were worried about the cost of energy (49%) and the cost of food (49%) in the past two weeks, with over one in three (35%) worried about their general health.
People living in the most deprived fifth of areas in England more frequently reported being worried about the cost of food (64%), the cost of energy (60%) and their general health (46%) than those living in the least deprived fifth of areas in England (40%, 42% and 29%, respectively).
Around 4 in 10 (39%) adults had been affected by industrial action in the last month, an increase from 27% in the previous period; more adults have been affected by having to spend more money on travel (22%) and more adults were unable to attend a medical appointment (12%) than in the previous period (14% and 5%, respectively).
When asked what actions adults have taken to look after their well-being during the past two weeks, the most reported actions were being more physically active (46%), trying to get enough sleep (46%), increasing the amount of time spent outdoors (45%) and spending more time with family or friends (39%).
Estimates in this release are based on data collected between 5 and 16 April 2023 (the "latest period") and 22 March and 2 April 2023 (the "previous period"). Analysis is based on adults in Great Britain.
In the latest period, we asked adults what they feel are important issues facing the UK today. The most commonly reported issues were:
the cost of living (92%)
the NHS (85%)
the economy (73%)
climate change and the environment (64%)
In the latest period, we asked adults which issues, if any, they have been worried about in the past two weeks. Over 8 in 10 (85%) adults were worried about one or more issue. The most reported issues were:
the cost of energy (49%)
the cost of food (49%)
their general health (35%)
Our upcoming release Tracking the impact of winter pressures in Great Britain: November 2022 to February 2023 will provide further information. This includes more detail on how people's experiences of increases in the cost of energy and food, as well as accessing NHS services, have changed through winter among different groups of the population.
When asked about their energy bills and their experiences of food shortages in the latest period:
around half (47%) of adults who pay energy bills said they found it very or somewhat difficult to afford them
around 4 in 10 (38%) adults had to spend more than usual to get what they normally buy
around half (48%) of adults have bought less than usual when food shopping over the past two weeks
Worries by deprivation
In this release, we have looked at how the issues that adults are worried about vary by the level of deprivation of the area in which they live. This has been based on the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD). We have classified areas into five quintiles, ranging from the most deprived to least deprived fifth of areas. Estimates are provided for England only, given the relatively smaller sample sizes in the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey in Scotland and Wales.
People living in the most deprived fifth of areas in England more frequently reported being worried about the cost of food (64%) and the cost of energy (60%). This was when compared with those living in the least deprived fifth of areas in England (40% and 42%, respectively).
Those living in the most deprived fifth of areas were more likely to report being worried about their general health (46%) than people in least deprived areas (29%).
Those living in the most deprived fifth of areas in England were also more likely to report being worried about the cost of rent or mortgage payments (35%) and feeling safe in their neighbourhood (28%). This was when compared with those living in the least deprived fifth of areas in England (18% and 13%, respectively)
Estimates for other issues that people worried about, broken down by IMD quintile in England, can be found in our personal well-being and loneliness dataset.Back to table of contents
Consumer price inflation data released in our Consumer price inflation, UK: March 2023 bulletin show that the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rose by 10.1% in the 12 months to March 2023, down from 10.4% in February 2023. This section explores individuals' experiences and responses to continued high inflation and the increased cost of living.
Over 9 in 10 (93%) reported that their cost of living had increased compared with a year ago. Compared with one month ago, 70% reported an increase in their cost of living (76% in the previous period). This is an increase from 62% compared with when we first asked about this in the period 3 to 14 November 2021.
Reasons for cost of living increases
The most commonly reported reasons given by adults for the rise in their cost of living over the past month were increases in:
the price of food shopping (96%)
their gas or electricity bills (77%)
the price of fuel (42%)
Data released in our Consumer price inflation, UK: March 2023 bulletin show that food costs and housing costings (including energy, electricity and other fuel) have consistently been drivers of CPI.
Actions taken because of the rising cost of living
The most common actions reported by all adults because of the rising cost of living in the latest period were:
spending less on non-essentials (67%)
using less fuel such as gas or electricity in their home (55%)
shopping around more (48%)
spending less on food shopping and essentials (42%)
Back to table of contents
During the latest 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 (7.0 in the previous period)
feeling that the things done in life are worthwhile: 7.2 in the latest period (7.4 in the previous period)
happiness: 7.0 in the latest period (7.0 in the previous period)
anxiety: 3.9 in the latest period (4.0 in the previous period)
Section 3 of our Personal well-being quarterly estimates technical report provides more information on the seasonal variation associated with measures of personal well-being. You can learn more about the Measures of National Well-being from our Quality of life in the UK: February 2023 bulletin and our Measures of National Well-being dashboard, which provides longer-term trends in well-being since 2012.
Figure 6: Levels of personal well-being
Adults in Great Britain, March 2020 to April 2023
- Questions: "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?", "Overall, how anxious did you feel yesterday?".
- These questions are answered on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is “not at all” and 10 is “completely”.
- Base: all adults.
Download the data
Actions to look after well-being
In the latest period, we also asked what actions adults have taken to look after their well-being during the past two weeks. Around 9 in 10 (87%) adults had taken at least one action to look after their well-being in the last two weeks. The most reported actions were:
being more physically active (46%)
trying to get enough sleep (46%)
increasing the amount of time spent outdoors (45%)
spending more time with family or friends (39%)
Back to table of contents
In the latest period, 38% of adults reported industrial action as an important issue in the UK today.
During the latest period, we asked whether people have been affected by industrial action over the last month. Around 4 in 10 adults (39%) reported that they had been affected by industrial action in the last month, an increase from 27% in the previous period 22 March to 2 April 2023. This period coincided with industrial action in the NHS in England from 11 to 15 April 2023, and His Majesty's Passport Office from 3 April to 6 May 2023.
Among those affected by industrial action, the largest changes in the way adults have been impacted by industrial action included:
spending more money on travel: 22% in the latest period (14% in the previous period)
unable to attend a medical appointment: 12% in the latest period (5% in previous period)
Other ways that adults have been impacted by industrial action in the latest period included:
dependent children being unable to attend school (20%)
not been able to travel for holiday or leisure as planned (19%)
being unable to take part in leisure activities (18%)
not being able to attend school, college, or university (14%)
Please note that the easter school holidays were during the latest data collection period and estimates of some impacts may be affected by the proportion of our sample experiencing certain disruptions. For example, not all of our sample are parents or working adults.Back to table of contents
This release contains data and indicators from a module being undertaken through the Office for National Statistics' (ONS') Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN).
Breakdowns by age and sex, including confidence intervals for the estimates, are contained in our Public opinions 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 (5 April to 16 April 2023), we sampled 4,980 households. This sample was randomly selected from people who had previously completed the Labour Market Survey (LMS) or OPN. The responding sample for the latest period contained 2,053 individuals, representing a 41% response rate. This is lower than the previous periods following the removal of an incentive to the OPN temporarily introduced to the survey.
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 Quality and Methodology Information (QMI).Back to table of contents
Office for National Statistics (ONS), released 21 April 2023, ONS website, statistical bulletin, Public opinions and social trends, Great Britain: 5 to 16 April 2023
Contact details for this Statistical bulletin
Telephone: +44 30 0067 1543