Appendix 6: National Benchmark Well-Being Data
In setting context for the well-being data, we refer to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Well-Being data, that has been a National Statistic since 2012. The COVID-19 pandemic led to changes in the data collection methodology which is assumed to have had some impact on the response profile. This data is therefore used primarily to illustrate the past stability of well-being metrics at a national level. Further details can be found on the ONS Website
Additional data relating to the three positive ONS Well-Being metrics (Life Satisfaction, Worthwhile and Happiness) from the University College London (UCL) COVID-19 Survey has been reviewed. This survey has run weekly from March 2020 onwards and further information can be found on the Survey website.
It should be noted that these two reference data sets both use an 11 point scale (from 0 – 10) and therefore absolute values are not comparable, but overall trends and relative results across different population groups are.
Over the previous 8 years there has been just a very small increase in people's Happiness, Life Satisfaction and feeling Worthwhile. Levels of Anxiety remained relatively unchanged over that same period. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a considerable negative impact on UK adults' well-being as illustrated below.
The COVID crisis first came to public attention in Quarter 1 2020 and led to the start of the initial lockdown in March. At this point all UK population measures moved negatively.
- Anxiety levels rose dramatically to levels never seen before.
- Happiness levels dropped considerably.
- Life Satisfaction and feeling Worthwhile also declined notably at the start of lockdown.
- Whilst there was some early recovery through April/May 2020, scores then stabilised through July and August, but declined through September and early October as the threat of the COVID-19 'Second Wave' became a reality.
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