Ten signs of happiness published by ONS

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

Related Stories

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.


More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 103.

    As happiness is the direct result of the choices one makes in life, I am concerned what the ONS intends to do with this data, moreover, what the government thinks it can do with it.

    Of course people are unhappy, they're unemployed, taxed into extinction debted to the hilt and nobody can buy property!

    The government wants to make us happy with this? 1984 much...

  • rate this

    Comment number 102.

    Watch the 1970 Film the RISE & Rise of Michael Rimmer ( with Peter Cook ).
    Yes its a witty satire, but so true.
    Google & read up on "basic techniques of animal husbandry"
    Then read up on communist subversion.
    Well you are off to a good start, but theres more .....

  • rate this

    Comment number 101.

    Maybe this is a very British attitude, but as a species we have to pay to exist & that is simply not conducive to happiness. The best Average Joe can expect is a job that doesn't make them cry, a homelife that isn't a constant round of arguments, a body that works OK & enough spare change to go for a pint every now & then. Perhaps the government needs to be a tad more realistic in it's ambitions.

  • rate this

    Comment number 100.

    Happiness depends on things happening. I am fairly unhappy most of the time - illness, money problems etc. However, if you asked if I was content then I would have to answer in the affirmative most of the time.

    The survey is a total waste of money and time though as the govt cannot do anything about my illness or whether I like my spouse or not and that is none of their business anyway.

  • rate this

    Comment number 99.

    There could only be total happiness for everyone if this world was free of politicians, religions and TV soaps. Politicians could get rid of the two other nuisances but then we'd still have politicians. It will never be a happy world. Not this side of Armageddon, that is.

  • rate this

    Comment number 98.

    I am always happy when I am being patronised by Cameron!! I guess I will learn to love Big Brother- sorry Big Society

  • rate this

    Comment number 97.

    Might be a lot cheaper to create a Ministry of the Bleeding Obvious and let them create all these surveys. Oh, and consultations.

  • rate this

    Comment number 96.

    People all over the place are stuck in unhappy relationships; this is due to people having lower expectations of what they are entitled to in personal interactions to start off with, or having experienced an extreme change of circumstances. This isn't a new phenomenon, and I fail to see what the government expects to be able to do about it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 95.

    If I were the type of person that looks at what their neighbours have and gets jealous then it might be different - but I'm not, I have all I need. Life is easy. And I'm a worm... just a happy one.

  • rate this

    Comment number 94.

    It seems we have in general gone past the point where extra wealth results in more happiness. Poverty is, of course, bad. Those who say it isn't might want to explain why so many people from poor countries are so keen on coming here.

    But govt and the media are still obsessed by growth. The BBC is the first to criticise materialism if we have growth, and failure if we don't.

  • rate this

    Comment number 93.

    Will this mean you can go on the sick for feeling unhappy, and be issued with a new husband?

  • rate this

    Comment number 92.

    78. Peter G Mackie
    You haven't seen miserable till you go to Finland or Latvia! They make us Brits look very happy in comparison.

  • rate this

    Comment number 91.

    ...and for those of us who do not have a wife / husband / partner, do we get to say whether or not we're happy not to have one, or will we just get an "N/A" against that question?

  • rate this

    Comment number 90.

    The problem with surveys of this sort is that it depends who you ask & when. I'm not sure how you can get a "representative sample" for an exercise of this sort. It also seems to me it will need to have been repeated 3 or 4 times before you can assess what the figures are telling you. The fierst survey just provides a base line & if it's in the middle of economic trouble will be of limited value.

  • rate this

    Comment number 89.

    I can see some use for these questions. If nothing else, question 6 will help to identify all those who are either liars or losers (or simply insane).

  • rate this

    Comment number 88.

    What a waste of time, money and effort (if any).

  • rate this

    Comment number 87.

    We have found that the key to happiness was cancelling my fathers subscription to the Daily Mail, home life was much quieter and less angry after that.

  • rate this

    Comment number 86.

    I think i did a similar survey at school to see what my ideal career would be. questions like:
    - Do you enjoy treating ill animals?
    - Do you like teaching others new skills?
    - Do you like driving a bus?

  • rate this

    Comment number 85.

    re80 arnold- is cannabis cheaper than putting on a lightbulb

    why would this get deleted?why would someone complain about this?

    BBC moderators please grow some backbone,I can understand if it's racist or genuinly offensive but to pose a question and then have you remove it after posting it is spinless.

  • 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.


Page 4 of 9


More Politics stories



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.