Public opinions and social trends, Great Britain: 31 January to 11 February 2024

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

This is the latest release. View previous releases

Contact:
Email David Ainslie

Release date:
16 February 2024

Next release:
1 March 2024

1. Main points

The following information is for the latest survey period 31 January to 11 February 2024, based on adults in Great Britain:

  •  Just under half (46%) of adults said their cost of living had increased over the last month, this proportion has gradually decreased since April 2023 (76% in the period 22 March to 2 April 2023); just over half (53%) said their cost of living had remained the same over the last month, with 1% saying it had decreased.

  • Among those who told us that their cost of living had increased, the most common reasons continue to be rises in the price of their food shopping (92%), the price of their gas and electricity bills (78%) or of their fuel (47%).

  • Around 4 in 10 adults who pay rent or mortgage payments (39%) reported finding it very or somewhat difficult to afford them; this proportion was at its highest in summer 2023 (46% in the period 28 June to 9 July 2023).

  • Around 4 in 10 adults who pay energy bills (43%) reported finding it very or somewhat difficult to afford them; this proportion was at its highest in May 2023 (49% in the period 17 to 29 May 2023).

  • Around 4 in 10 (37%) adults reported they had spent more than usual to get what they normally buy when food shopping within the past two weeks; this proportion appears relatively stable in recent months since declining from half (50%) in the period 4 to 15 October 2023.

  • When asked if industrial action had affected them in the past month, around three-quarters (75%) said they had not been affected; the most commonly reported impacts were spending more money on travel (9%), being unable to take part in leisure activities (8%), and being unable to travel for holiday or leisure as planned (7%).

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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 made changes that reduced the scope of the release and accompanying datasets. This was 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 continue to be provided on a regular basis in other ONS releases. For example, OPN estimates relating to the impact of the 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, as described in our Uncertainty methodology, 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 (31 January to 11 February 2024), we sampled 4,974 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 2,591 individuals, representing a 52% response rate. A £5 incentive to participate was provided in the latest period.

Survey weights were applied to make estimates representative of the population (based on ONS population estimates). Because of  sampling changes in July 2023, some groups in our unweighted sample may be over-represented. Further information on the survey design and quality can be found in our Opinions and Lifestyle Survey Quality and Methodology Information (QMI).

Authors

David Ainslie, Michael Becker, Emily Froud and Tim Vizard, Office for National Statistics.

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5. Cite this statistical bulletin

Office for National Statistics (ONS), released 16 February 2024, ONS website, statistical bulletin, Public opinions and social trends, Great Britain: 31 January to 11 February 2024

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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

David Ainslie
policy.evidence.analysis@ons.gov.uk
Telephone: +44 3000 671543