England

Most and least happy places revealed in major ONS report

Smiling woman Image copyright Thinkstock

The largest proportion of happy people in England are living in Mid Sussex, the smallest in Wolverhampton, according to official statistics.

Data collected over three years has been used to measure the wellbeing of more than 300,000 people across the UK.

On average, people rated their happiness between seven and eight out of 10.

But the largest percentage of people rating themselves at nine or 10 was in Mid Sussex (39.3%).

That compares with 21.8% in Wolverhampton.


Reaction from Wolverhampton residents

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionCarla Williams, 31, from Springfield, said Wolverhampton was a boring place to live
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionFrancis Botchway, 17, from Bushbury said: "There are loads of good people around here and I think overall it is a happy place."

Sara Erriadi, 27, from Bilston said: "I don't have any family here at all so for me personally to be surrounded by people I love would make me happier.

"But for everyone else - if we had a bit more sunshine or more things to do - like a fair - that might make people happier."

Image caption Wolverhampton City Centre

Joyce and Val from Tipton had travelled to Wolverhampton on the tram for a shopping trip.

Val said: "A place is what you make it. If you're a happy person you'll be in a happy place."

Joyce said: "I always find the people really friendly in Wolverhampton.

"There's happy people and there's miserable people wherever you go."

Image caption The Wulfrun shopping centre in Wolverhampton

Councillor Garry Wall, leader of Mid Sussex District Council, said: "Being happy isn't just about where you are; it's also about who you are with and how you live your life. We live in an area surrounded by beautiful countryside, areas of outstanding natural beauty and enjoy a growing local economy but crucially we have strong local communities."

The ONS found ratings of life satisfaction and happiness were at their lowest, on average, for those aged 45 to 59.

Across the UK as a whole people in the Scottish Highlands came out happiest, with 43% saying they were a nine or a 10 on the day they were asked.

Image copyright Tableau

In Bolsover in Derbyshire, 17.2% rated their happiness between zero and four out of 10.

However, it still had far more people at the happiest end of the scale as well, with 37% giving themselves nine or 10 out of 10.

Liverpool and Wolverhampton were the only places where average happiness was below seven out of 10, at 6.96 and 6.99 respectively.

Fewest happy people, but the least anxious

Image caption St Peter's Collegiate Church in Wolverhampton, the city which has the lowest percentage of very happy people

Despite its low happiness rating, however, Wolverhampton has also emerged as the place where people feel the least anxious, with 58.5% rating themselves at zero or one out of 10 for anxiety.

Mayor of Wolverhampton, Councillor Ian Brookfield, said: "On the one hand they suggest that people in Wolverhampton are less happy, yet by the same measure, there are fewer unhappy people here than in many other areas.


Take the test: Where in Britain would you be happiest?

Image copyright Getty Images

Research shows the better you fit into the personality of your area, the happier you are. Take the test to find the best place in Britain for you

Read more on happiness from BBC News:

Can we make ourselves happier?

Why it's hard to measure happiness


"At the same time, the report also shows that people in Wolverhampton have the lowest levels of anxiety anywhere in the UK, which appears to contradict the other findings. And of course, we need to remember this is a fairly small sample size of 1,690 residents over a three-year period.

"Wolverhampton and Black Country folk are, by nature, hard-working and self-deprecating - that's why in this area we are famous for our sense of humour - and this research shows that while we may sometimes be a little bit grumpy, we don't worry and get on with life."

Castle Point in Essex has the most people in England classing their anxiety at the higher end of the scale, with Derry and Strabane in Northern Ireland ranked the highest in the UK.

Life satisfaction

Cornwall has the most people in England who are satisfied with their lives. Asked to rate their overall life satisfaction out of 10, one third (33.3%) gave themselves a nine or 10.

The London Borough of Camden contains the lowest percentage of people who are fully satisfied with their lives, 16.7 per cent, followed by Wolverhampton on 16.9%.

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Those aged 65 to 79 tended to report the highest levels of personal wellbeing.

The largest proportion of people rating their life satisfaction zero to four out of 10 is in Greenwich, at 9.22%.

A 'worthwhile' life

Cornwall also scored the highest in England for how "worthwhile" people considered their lives, with 39.2% rating what they did either nine or 10 out of 10. However, it was sixth overall in the UK, behind the Scottish Highlands, Anglesey in Wales, the Scottish Borders, Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon in Northern Ireland and Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland.

Harrow in London had the lowest percentage of people scoring themselves with the highest marks, 22.6%.

More on this story