Smile . . . people in Bath are happiest in the South West
People living in and around Bath have a lot to smile about after it was revealed we are the happiest in the South West.
The "life satisfaction" of families in the area came out on top in a range of well-being tests, according to the first annual results of David Cameron's so-called happiness index.
But life just down the road in Bristol is not so rosy. Bristolians are at the bottom of the South West happiness league, just above the poor souls in Torbay.
The average person in Bath and North East Somerset rated their "life satisfaction" as 7.7 out of 10, according to research by the Office for National Statistics.
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Less than 15 per cent of people living in the area reported a low or very low "life satisfaction" rating.
This figure leapt to 26.1 per cent in Bristol and 29.4 per cent in Torbay.
The figures come from the first Integrated Household Survey of 200,000 people aged 16 and over between April 2011 and March 2012.
People were asked how satisfied are you with your life? To what extent do you feel the things you do in your life are worthwhile? How happy did you feel yesterday and how anxious were you yesterday?
The research was conducted as part of the Prime Minister's initiative to assess the wellbeing of the nation.
Results for the worthwhile question were 10 points better in BANES than those in Bristol. Just 14.4 per cent reported a low or very low rating in and around Bath.
But it was not all good news. Living in BANES can be stressful, with more than 40 per cent of people reporting a high or very high rating.
The average Briton rates their “life satisfaction” as 7.4 out of 10.
And asked how worthwhile they found their activities, the average response was even higher – at 7.7 out of 10 but one in five rated yesterday’s anxiety levels at more than five out of 10.
Women tended to have a greater sense than men of life satisfaction and that what they do is worthwhile, but also reported higher levels of anxiety.
People aged 16 to 19 and 65 to 79 displayed the highest levels of satisfaction, the ONS found.
Glenn Everett, ONS programme director for the Measuring National Well-being Programme, said: “By examining and analysing both objective statistics as well as subjective information, a more complete picture of national wellbeing can be formed.
“Understanding people’s views of wellbeing is an important addition to existing official statistics and has potential uses in the policy making process and to aid other decision making.”