Thursday, February 24, 2011

Britain Starts Their Happiness Survey

Prime Minister David Cameron and an anonymous dog.
From Green Consultancy.
Yes, as reported back in November, Britain plans to focus on the wellbeing of its citizens. Well, now The Telegraph reports that the nation's first official happiness survey is afoot. This first batch will cover 200,000 people over the age of 16, asking them to rate themselves on the following questions on a scale of 0 to 10:

  • 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?

Future questions will probably focus on more specific areas, such as the state of their marriage, friendships, and health. Paul Allin, head of the wellbeing project, expects the large sample size to rule out most dishonest answers, saying, "We essentially trust people to give us the answers they give us and we will work what they say."

The whole initiative comes from Prime Minister David Cameron's belief that governments play a role in helping their citizens "feel better." It is run by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and has a current budget of £2 million a year. Previous surveys show that Britain's life satisfaction has failed to keep up with its GDP over the last 40 years.


  1. This is very interesting. How do we measure happiness? By working hard and getting what we wanted? Or, by living each day to the fullest? Using this survey, we will know what makes people happy and their scale of happiness.

  2. Thank you for your comment. Yes, the wide scope of this survey should give interesting information that wouldn't be otherwise available.