Smiles bet­ter – res­i­dents are hap­pier than year ago

Rochdale Observer - - NOSTALGIA -

PEO­PLE in Rochdale are hap­pier than they were a year ago, ac­cord­ing to a new sur­vey from the Of­fice for Na­tional Sta­tis­tics.

The an­nual ONS sur­vey, which cov­ers the 12 months to the end of March, asked peo­ple aged 16 and over across the UK to rate four ar­eas of their per­sonal well­be­ing.

Three of the ar­eas their hap­pi­ness, life sat­is­fac­tion and sense of the things they do in life be­ing worth­while - are ranked on a scale from zero to ten with ten be­ing the high­est.

The av­er­age hap­pi­ness score for re­spon­dents in Rochdale was 7.48, be­low the na­tional av­er­age of 7.52.

Over­all, 73% of peo­ple in Rochdale ranked their hap­pi­ness be­tween seven and ten, mean­ing ei­ther high or very high, com­pared to 75.4% in the UK.

Since the sur­vey be­gan in 2011-12 hap­pi­ness in the UK has been in­creas­ing year-on-year but has slowed in re­cent years.

Peo­ple in Rochdale have also been re­port­ing higher lev­els of hap­pi­ness as the years go by.

The lev­els of hap­pi­ness this year were the high­est since the sur­vey be­gan.

There were sim­i­lar im­prove­ments in re­sults for the other ar­eas of well-be­ing in Rochdale.

Life sat­is­fac­tion and feel­ings that peo­ple’s lives are worth­while both im­proved on last year, although both are still be­low the na­tional av­er­age.

An­other ques­tion in the sur­vey asks re­spon­dents to rank how anx­ious they felt on the pre­vi­ous day, with zero be­ing ‘not at all anx­ious’ and ten be­ing ‘com­pletely anx­ious’. In Rochdale anx­i­ety lev­els have crept up to 2.82 this year, com­pared to a na­tional av­er­age of 2.89.

Ac­cord­ing to ONS re­search, peo­ple’s views about their health, em­ploy­ment, and re­la­tion­ship sta­tus are the fac­tors most likely to im­pact how they rate their per­sonal well­be­ing.

Bad health was the most sig­nif­i­cant fac­tor as­so­ci­ated with re­ports of poor well-be­ing, fol­lowed by be­ing eco­nom­i­cally in­ac­tive with a long-term ill­ness or dis­abil­ity.

Dis­abil­ity char­ity Scope said em­ploy­ers’ out­dated at­ti­tudes and in­flex­i­ble work­ing prac­tices was keep­ing dis­abled peo­ple out of work.

James Tay­lor, head of pol­icy at Scope, said: “This needs to change. Gov­ern­ment and em­ploy­ers need to all be­come Dis­abil­ity Gamechang­ers – by chal­leng­ing neg­a­tive at­ti­tudes and tack­ling the many bar­ri­ers dis­abled peo­ple face.”

The ONS re­port noted that em­ploy­ment wor­ries went be­yond just hav­ing a job, and also con­cerned the qual­ity of job se­cu­rity, wages and work-life bal­ance.

It con­tin­ued: “We know that well-be­ing does not thrive in cir­cum­stances of great in­equal­ity. Re­duc­ing dis­par­i­ties in life ex­pectancy and health, ac­cess to skills and ed­u­ca­tion, good jobs and af­ford­able homes should be an im­por­tant pri­or­ity for achiev­ing in­clu­sive growth in all ar­eas.”

Com­ing out top in the well-be­ing sur­vey this year was North­ern Ire­land, which re­ported the low­est lev­els of anx­i­ety and the high­est lev­els of hap­pi­ness, sat­is­fac­tion and feel­ings of wor­thi­ness of any UK re­gion for two years run­ning.

The sin­gle hap­pi­est place in the UK how­ever was Rush­moor in Hamp­shire, with a score of 8.35.

The worst per­form­ing re­gion across the board was Lon­don, while peo­ple in Wales also re­port lower than av­er­age sat­is­fac­tion with their lives than the other na­tions of the UK.

Sil­via Man­clossi, head of the qual­ity of life team at the ONS said: “An im­por­tant part of our work is look­ing be­yond the eco­nomic health of the coun­try to how its peo­ple are far­ing and in­equal­i­ties in so­ci­ety.

“To­day, for the first time, we have iden­ti­fied how fac­tors such as health, ac­cess to ser­vices and crime lev­els may af­fect how peo­ple rate their well-be­ing in dif­fer­ent parts of the UK.

“This can help lo­cal au­thor­i­ties and other or­gan­i­sa­tions to bet­ter un­der­stand where ser­vices could be tar­geted to help im­prove the well­be­ing of peo­ple in their area.”

Mean­while, peo­ple in Rossendale, which in­cludes Whit­worth, are among the most anx­ious in the UK, ac­cord­ing to a new Of­fice for Na­tional Sta­tis­tics sur­vey.

The av­er­age anx­i­ety score for re­spon­dents in Rossendale was 3.37, one of the high­est scores in Eng­land, com­pared to an av­er­age UK score of 2.89.

The most anx­ious places this year were Lis­burn and Castlereagh in North­ern Ire­land.

●●Sta­tis­tics show peo­ple in Rochdale are hap­pier than a year ago

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