People’s personal happiness and wellbeing continues to remain flat, despite rising economic prosperity, according to the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics.
Its latest personal and economic well-being index — launched at the start of this year — shows that the average happiness, life satisfaction and ‘worthwhile’ ratings for the UK remained flat in the last quarter of 2018.
However during this period most economic indicates continued to improve, as did the ‘average’ anxiety ratings.
This index shows that household disposable income per head grew quicker than real household spending per head, compared with the same quarter a year ago. This is only the third time this has happened in the past 12 quarters.
Although average anxiety ratings reached a three-year low in 2018, about 10.3m people – or around a fifth of the population – continued to report high anxiety. This proportion has remained similar since 2014.
This index also shows that income income inequality also increased. The ONS says that as a result the trends in income, spending and anxiety in different parts of society may vary.
The index shows that between the financial years ending 2017 and 2018 the richest fifth of individuals saw a 4.7 per cent increase in their real equivalised household disposable income, compared with a 1.6 per cent contraction for the poorest fifth of individuals.
This new index combines ONS data on both personal and economic wellbeing with the aim of giving a more complete picture of the nation’s financial health.
Canada Life Group Insurance marketing director Paul Avis says: “Financial worries take a great toll on personal wellbeing and lead to a host of mental health issues, including anxiety and depression.”
He adds: “Unemployment is at a record low and job security is relatively stable for the time being. The writing is on the wall – personal wellbeing is falling and employers must act fast.
“At times like these, an employer’s benefits package can play an important role. Protection products such as Group Income Protection can give employees valuable peace of mind and the support services provided alongside it give employees access to financial advice when they need it. For example, the counselling available could be a great help to the 10.3m people reporting high levels of anxiety.”