Ten signs of happiness published by ONS

David and Samantha Cameron The survey will ask people about their relationship with their husband or wife

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People are to be asked how satisfied they are with their husband, wife or partner, under government plans to measure the country's happiness.

The Office for National Statistics has published a list of 10 indicators of wellbeing, including health, education, income, work and trust in politicians.

A three-month consultation will now begin before a final list is published.

David Cameron's "happiness index" is intended to complement other measures of the state of the UK such as GDP.

The list of national wellbeing indicators was drawn up following a five-month debate involving 34,000 people on the question "What matters to you?"

Statisticians narrowed that down to 10 areas, including seven relating to personal wellbeing and three wider indicators - governance, the economy and the environment.

Top of the list of measures in the ONS consultation document is individual happiness.

Among the questions likely to be asked are: "Do you feel your life is worthwhile? How satisfied are you with your husband, wife or partner?"

Question shortlist

  1. Are you satisfied with life?
  2. Are you satisfied with your husband, wife or partner?
  3. How satisfied are you with your mental and physical health?
  4. Are you happy in your job?
  5. Do you feel involved in your neighbourhood?
  6. Are you happy with your personal income?
  7. Are you satisfied with your education?
  8. Data on how many voted and trust in Parliament will also be measured
  9. Statistics on the economy will also be included
  10. As will environmental factors, including greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants

People would also be asked about job satisfaction and whether they feel they achieve a balance of work and leisure activities.

On neighbourhoods, people's involvement in their local area and sense of belonging, as well as feelings of personal safety, would be considered.

Other areas explored are people's financial situation and whether they are happy with their household income.

There would also be questions about education from an individual's own education to the importance of learning new things and satisfaction with the standard of the national education system.

More general areas included are what percentage of the population voted and how many trust Parliament, the state of the economy and the environment - the latter measured in part using greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants.

After the consultation exercise, which ends in January, statisticians will consider scrapping indicators from the shortlist or adding new ones. A summary of people's views will be published next spring.

The programme, launched a year ago, aims to provide a better understanding of how society is doing, and could help form coalition policy in the future.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 84.

    As far as I can tell a right to happiness is not on the long list of my human rights. It's not something the government needs to address when there are more pressing issues like, oh, pension deficits, fuel poverty, decreasing wages, increasing stealth taxes... you know, other stuff that does make me unhappy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 83.

    I would be a lot happier if I could have the money that is being wasted on this survey!

  • rate this

    Comment number 78.

    I have travelled all over Europe and also lived in several countries in Europe and have always found the Brits to be the most miserable people. Perhaps we need to take a good look at ourselves to see why that is. We live on an island and have tended to muddle on in our own miserable way, putting on blinkers to blot out anything we don't understand.

  • rate this

    Comment number 47.

    The idea of this is to give a "fuller understanding" than the state of the economy tells us. I have been told countless times that there is no correllation between money and happiness, so surely this simply gives a different understanding. My main reason for being happy is that I love my wife and our family. The rest's only icing on the cake - including what money we earn.

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get


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