UK National Wellbeing

UK National Wellbeing

Bhutan measures the wellbeing of its citizens using the Gross National Happiness Index. Many countries have developed indicators to measure the wellbeing and happiness of their citizens. The UK uses indicators across ten areas (domains) to measure personal and economic well being. The indicators provide the government with an alternative way of evaluating economic performance. Both subjective and objective measures are employed in arriving at national wellbeing. Subjective measures are not based on facts and could be self-reported, e.g. satisfaction with life, level of happiness or anxiety. Objective measures are unbiased, quantifiable and based on data/facts such as inflation rate or unemployment rate.   


Table 1: Domains and measures of UK national wellbeing 

Personal wellbeing

satisfaction with life
how worthwhile things people do are
happiness yesterday
anxiety yesterday
population wellbeing
Our relationships

fairly/extremely unhappy relationships


someone to rely on if there is a serious problem


healthy life expectancy at birth


satisfaction with their  health

evidence of depression or anxiety
What we do

unemployment rate

satisfaction with job

satisfaction with the amount of leisure time

volunteer work

engaged with/participated in arts or cultural activity

participation in sport and physical activities

Where we live

crimes against the person

feeling safe walking alone after dark

access to the natural environment

feeling of belonging to neighbourhood

time travelled to reach key services

satisfaction with accommodation

Personal finance
household with less than 60% of median income

median wealth per household

real median household income

satisfaction with household income

difficulty to get by financially

The economy

real net national disposable income per head

UK public sector net debt as a percentage of GDP

Inflation rate

Education and skill

human capital

not in education, employment or training

UK residents aged 16 to 64 with no qualifications


 voter turnout in UK General Elections

trust in the national government

The natural environment

total greenhouse gas emissions

protected areas in the UK

energy consumed from renewable sources

waste recycled