People in the UK are happiest at 16 and 70 years old, with their wellbeing taking a dive for the majority of their working lives, according to an analysis of official data carried out by a leading thinktank. A Resolution Foundation paper published on Wednesday said people tend to be happier, more satisfied and to…
People in the UK are happiest at 16 and 70 years old, with their wellbeing taking a dive for the majority of their working lives, according to an analysis of official data carried out by a leading thinktank.
A Resolution Foundation paper published on Wednesdaysaid people tend to be happier, more satisfied and to feel a greater sense of self-worth in their earlier years – and again as they approach older age.
The study of seven years of Office for National Statistics (ONS) data also suggested that anxiety levels tend to rise between their mid-20s and their mid-50s.
After a downturn in people’s late teens, the data suggested an increase in overall wellbeing in people’s early 20s. But that tends to be followed by a stark drop-off in each of the components of wellbeing from around the age of 30 until people reach their 50s. At that point, the curves shift steadily upwards until the age of about 70.
The ONS’ collection of subjective wellbeing datawas started in 2010by David Cameron, who felt the nation’s success was being measured in financial terms alone. “It’s time we admitted that there’s more to life than money and it’s time we focused not just on GDP but on GWB – general wellbeing,” he said at the time. “Improving our society’s sense of wellbeing is, I believe, the central political challenge of our times.”
On Wednesday, George Bangham, a policy analyst at the independent thinktank, said: “It is encouraging that a growing number of policy makers are interested in boosting wellbeing. But their focus on the new objective should complement, rather than replace, priorities such as income redistribution, better jobs and secure housing.”
He added that the ONS data “shows that there is more to life than a country’s GDP, but that the employment and income trends that lie behind our economy can make a big difference to our wellbeing too”.
According to the Resolution Foundation report, the statistics show the most important determinants of wellbeing to be good health, a job and a partner. But it said the data suggested wellbeing also varied significantly depending on someone’s age, income level, housing tenure, and where they live.