ONS happiness survey questions revealed

  • 24 February 2011
  • From the section UK
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UK households are to be asked how satisfied they are with their lives in survey measuring happiness.

The Office for National Statistics has published questions it is adding to an existing nationwide poll from April.

People will be asked to rank from nought to 10 how "satisfied" they are, and how "anxious" they felt yesterday.

The ONS says the aim is to get a fuller picture of "how society is doing" than can be found simply by using economic indicators such as GDP.

The first results are due to be published by the middle of next year.

'More to life'

After becoming Conservative leader in 2005, David Cameron said gauging people's feelings was one of the "central political issues of our time".

"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 well-being," he said.

The ONS will add the subjective questions to its next annual Integrated Household Survey.

The questions will include:

  • Overall, how satisfied are you with your life nowadays?
  • Overall, how happy did you feel yesterday?
  • Overall, how anxious did you feel yesterday?
  • Overall, to what extent do you feel the things you do in your life are worthwhile?

There will also be broader questions which are designed to try to explain people's feelings.

ONS spokesman Stephen Hicks, who is managing the new elements of the research, says it is breaking ground.

"While we want to produce consistent results over time, we will initially regard the results as experimental.

"There is more work to be done to check that the questions work and that they meet public policy and other needs, including international developments."

About 200,000 interviews will take place each year, with a smaller survey of around 1,000 adults being conducted each month.

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