Life Satisfaction Static Despite Economic Growth

Economic growth measured in terms of output per person or GDP per capita rose by nearly 5 per cent between 2007 and 2014, Sky News reports.

Despite this improved economic performance there has been no change to the level of life satisfaction.

The ONS measures life satisfaction by simply asking adults (aged 16 and over): “Overall, how satisfied are you with your life nowadays?”

Their answers are captured on a scale of 0 to 10, where zero is “not at all” and 10 “completely”.

In both 2007 and 2014 the UK’s life satisfaction was 6.8 out of 10.

However, the tide may be turning.

Nearly three-quarters (74 per cent) of people in the UK reported being in good or better health in 2013, higher than the OECD average of 68 per cent.

The UK’s performance is marginally better than the OECD average which shows an increase in economic output per person of 14 per cent but a decrease in life satisfaction of around 1 per cent over the same period.

According to the ONS: “Life satisfaction is one of the 41 measures of national well-being.

“As a measure of subjective wellbeing it can provide an additional picture of how a country has responded to the economic downturn, and potentially reveal problems that aren’t apparent when only considering economic factors.”

Internationally, Greece is the only OECD country to have experienced falling economic output per head between 2007 and 2014.

Life satisfaction scores, unsurprisingly, have also fallen over the same period – down 27 per cent to 4.8 out of 10 – the lowest life satisfaction score among OECD countries.

Iceland, Switzerland and Denmark had the highest life satisfaction scores in 2014 at 7.5 out of 10. Interestingly these are all European countries which are not members of the eurozone.