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Happy at work and more active: nation’s wellbeing has improved says ONS

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More than two thirds (68 per cent) of adults in Great Britain say they feel hopeful about their future, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS)’s latest national wellbeing study.


Positive news was to be found in several areas which ONS uses to measure the nation’s wellbeing and health.

The proportion of active adults in England is back to pre-pandemic levels, with 63.1 per cent of adults in England taking part in "moderate plus intensity" activity for an average of at least 150 minutes a week during 2021 to 2022.

Around two-thirds (66.7 per cent) of adults in England visited green spaces in the past 14 days in March 2023, up from 60.9 per cent in March 2022.

The proportion of active adults in England is back to pre-pandemic levels. Photograph: iStock

However, although the proportion of people experiencing anxiety has shown no change in 2023 compared to the previous year, there has been an increase in ‘high anxiety’ in the long term.

In April to June 2023, 22.5 per cent of UK adults rated their anxiety the previous day as high compared to 19.5 per cent in the same period in 2018.

Tim Vizard, who works on the policy and evidence team at the ONS, commented: “This data shows a nation whose overall personal wellbeing had improved since the Covid pandemic, but one that is still not back to pre-pandemic levels.

“Unsurprisingly, the pandemic impacted on many aspects of life that are central to our well-being, from education and household finances to access to green spaces and socialising with friends.”

Other findings showed that the average number of days when air pollution in the UK was moderate or higher doubled from 5.3 to 10.6 days in 2022, following a record low in 2021. However, this is still an improvement over the long term (14.1 days in 2010).

People are also generally happy at work, with around 7 in 10 adults in Great Britain fairly or very satisfied with their main job.

One-third of adults also reported that they had volunteered in the last 12 months, giving unpaid help to clubs, groups or charities.

UK measures of National Wellbeing: here 

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