Public opinions and social trends, Great Britain: 9 to 20 August 2023

Social insights on daily life and events, including estimates from the Opinions and Lifestyle Surveys (OPN) relating to the biggest issues facing society today.

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Email Katie Hendry, Caleb Ogwuru, Jodie Davis and Tim Vizard

Release date:
25 August 2023

Next release:
8 September 2023

1. Main points

The following information is for the latest survey period 9 to 20 August 2023, based on adults in Great Britain.

  • When asked about the important issues facing the UK today, the most commonly reported issues continued to be the cost of living (91%), the NHS (86%), the economy (74%), climate change and the environment (67%) and housing (60%).

  • Over a half (53%) of adults reported that their cost of living had increased compared with a month ago, while 45% reported it had stayed the same and 2% said it had decreased.

  • When asked about what people are doing because of the increases in the cost of living, around 6 in 10 (62%) said they were spending less on non-essentials, around half (51%) were shopping around more, and more than 4 in 10 (44%) were using less fuel such as gas or electricity in their homes.

  • When asked about their personal experiences of food shopping, around half (51%) of all adults reported having to spend more than usual to get what they normally buy, an increase from 43% in the previous period (26 July to 6 August 2023).

  • Among those currently paying rent or a mortgage, more than 4 in 10 (46%) reported that their rent or mortgage payments had gone up in the past 6 months.

  • Among those who are currently paying rent or a mortgage, 36% reported finding it very or somewhat difficult to afford these payments; this was 29% in early August 2022.

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3. Measuring the data

This release contains data and indicators from the Office for National Statistics' (ONS's) Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN).

From the 16 June 2023 release onwards, we have made changes that reduce the scope of the release and accompanying datasets. This is based on a routine review of the relevance and usefulness of this release.

Breakdowns by age and sex are no longer provided for fortnightly estimates in the latest Public opinions and social trends, Great Britain datasets. All previous versions of the dataset remain available from this page. Estimates from the OPN by these and other personal characteristics will continue to be provided on a regular basis in other ONS releases. For example, OPN estimates relating to the impact of cost of living among different sub-groups of the population are provided within the regular Impact of increased cost of living on adults across Great Britain series.

Confidence intervals are provided for all estimates in the datasets. Where changes in results from previous weeks are presented in this release, 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 (9 to 20 August 2023), we sampled 4,983 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 2,594 individuals, representing a 52.1% 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 Quality and Methodology Information (QMI).

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5. Cite this statistical bulletin

Office for National Statistics (ONS), released 25 August 2023, ONS website, statistical bulletin, Public opinions and social trends, Great Britain: 9 to 20 August 2023

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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

Katie Hendry, Caleb Ogwuru, Jodie Davis and Tim Vizard
Telephone: +44 3000 671543