Public opinions and social trends, Great Britain: 20 to 31 July 2022

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

This is the latest release. View previous releases

Contact:
Email Lewis Bird, Robin Way, Bonang Lewis, Tim Vizard

Release date:
5 August 2022

Next release:
19 August 2022

1. Main points

The following information is on the latest period, 20 to 31 July 2022, based on adults in Great Britain.

  • Around 9 in 10 (89%) adults reported their cost of living had risen over the past month; this is the same as the previous period (6 to 17 July) but an increase since we first started asking this question in the period 3 to 14 November 2021 (62%).
  • Three-quarters (75%) of adults reported being very or somewhat worried about rising costs of living in the last two weeks; this estimate has remained relatively stable since we first started asking this question in the period 27 April to 8 May 2022.
  • Over 4 in 10 (44%) adults who pay energy bills found it very or somewhat difficult to afford them, compared with 46% in the previous period.
  • Around 1 in 5 (19%) working adults neither travelled to work nor worked from home, an increase from 15% in the previous period; this could be explained by more working adults taking annual leave during the summer holidays.
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2. Cost of living and energy bills

Estimates in this release are based on data collected between 20 and 31 July 2022 (the "latest period") and 6 and 17 July 2022 (the "previous period").

Cost of living increases

In this period, we continued to ask adults about changes to their cost of living over the past month, with around 9 in 10 (89%) reporting it had increased in the latest period (the same as in the previous period). This is a rise from 62% when we first asked about this in the period 3 to 14 November 2021.

Reasons reported by adults for the rise in their cost of living were an increase in:

  • the price of food shopping (94%, the same as in the previous period)
  • gas or electricity bills (82%, compared with 81% in the previous period)
  • the price of fuel (77%, compared with 75% in the previous period)

Of all adults, three-quarters (75%) reported being very or somewhat worried about rising costs of living in the last two weeks; this estimate has remained relatively stable since we first asked this question in the period 27 April to 8 May 2022.

The latest estimates regarding actions people are taking because of the rising cost of living, including breakdowns by age and sex, can be found in Table 2 of our Household finances dataset.

A more detailed look at the characteristics (such as disability status, personal income or how deprived an area they live in) of those reporting different actions following cost of living increases is included in our article What actions are people taking because of the rising cost of living? using a larger pool of data covering the period 30 March to 19 June 2022.

Energy bills

Over 4 in 10 (44%) adults who pay energy bills reported they found it very or somewhat difficult to afford them in the latest period, compared with 46% in the previous period.

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 June 2022.

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3. Location of work

When answering questions about their work, respondents were asked to consider the last seven days.

Around two-thirds (65%) of working adults travelled to work at some point in the past seven days (68% in the previous period). Of those, 43% only travelled to work (45% in the previous period), while 21% reported both working from home and travelling to work (24% in the previous period).

Among working adults, 16% said they worked from home exclusively in the past seven days (the same as in the previous period).

Around 1 in 5 (19%) working adults neither travelled to work nor worked from home, which is an increase from 15% in the previous period. This could be explained by the data collection period covering the start of the school summer holidays in Great Britain; as a result, more working adults will be taking annual leave (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Around a fifth (21%) of working adults both worked from home and travelled to work (hybrid working) in the latest period

Working adults, Great Britain, January 2021 to July 2022

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Notes:
  1. Questions: "In the past seven days, have you travelled to work?" and "In the past seven days, have you worked from home?"
  2. Base: working adults.
  3. Because of changes in the wording of the survey questions, there is a break in the time series from the period 30 March to 10 April 2022. Data before this period cannot be directly compared with data from this period onwards.
  4. Reasons for respondents neither working from home nor travelling to work might currently include being on annual leave or sick leave, being on maternity or paternity leave, or being unable to work.
Download the data

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Further estimates regarding the location of work, including breakdowns by age and sex, and trends over time, can be found in Tables 3, 11 and 12 of our Coronavirus (COVID-19) and other illnesses dataset.

Our Homeworking in the UK - regional patterns article provides information on how people's attitudes to homeworking have changed throughout the coronavirus pandemic, examining changes to the regional distribution of labour across the UK.

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

This period, we continued to ask adults about the preventative measures they took to reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and other illnesses such as coughs or colds in the past seven days. Estimates from this period compared with the spring (13 to 24 April 2022) show that:

  • around three-quarters (73%) of adults who left home reported they always or often wash their hands with soap straight after returning home from a public place, remaining relatively stable compared with 75% in the spring
  • over a third (34%) said they wore face coverings when outside their home, which is a decrease from 65% in the spring
  • almost 3 in 10 (29%) of those who met up with people outside their household said that they always or often maintained social distancing when doing so, which is a decline from 38% in the spring

As a result of changes to the survey prior to this period (13 to 24 April 2022), we would not recommend comparing the latest estimates provided with those published earlier than this.

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

Further estimates regarding the social impacts of COVID-19, 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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5. Personal well-being and loneliness

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 and 7.0 in the previous period)
  • feeling that the things done in life are worthwhile (7.1 in the latest period and 7.2 in the previous period)
  • happiness (6.9 in the latest period and 7.1 in the previous period)
  • anxiety (3.9 in both the latest and previous period)

These estimates of personal well-being may differ from those in our Personal well-being in the UK, quarterly: April 2011 to September 2021 bulletin, which is based on the Annual Population Survey (APS). To find out more about the difference between these two data sources, you can view our Data collection changes due to the pandemic and their impact on estimating personal well-being methodology.

Figure 2: Levels of personal well-being remained relatively stable in the latest period

Adults in Great Britain, March 2020 to July 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

.xlsx

Loneliness

A quarter (25%) of adults reported feeling lonely always, often, or some of the time in the latest period; this is unchanged from 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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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.

Changes were made to the OPN survey design, for example, sample size, the questionnaire, and financial incentives to participate. These changes may result in small changes to the responding sample. We therefore advise caution with comparing estimates from this period onwards with those published prior to this period.

Breakdowns by age and sex, including confidence intervals for the estimates, are contained in our Public opinion and social trends, Great Britain datasets. Breakdowns by region are no longer provided within these datasets because of the smaller responding sample size of the OPN survey.

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 (20 to 31 July 2022), we sampled 4,962 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 2,466 individuals, representing a 49.7% response rate.

Survey weights were applied to make estimates representative of the population (based on June 2021 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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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

Lewis Bird, Robin Way, Bonang Lewis, Tim Vizard
policy.evidence.analysis@ons.gov.uk
Telephone: +44 30 0067 1543