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07 Feb

Anxiety levels among Britons remain high with around 10.6 million people suffering from high anxiety, according to government figures.

Anxiety and life satisfaction have both suffered as a result of continuing economic uncertainty, according to latest reports from the O.N.S.

Life satisfaction fell in July to Sept 2019 compared with the year before as concerns about future employment prospects grew.

This is the first time since 2011 that both life satisfaction and feeling that things done in life are worthwhile significantly fell, when compared with the year before.

Anxiety Remains High

Average anxiety ratings remained at an elevated level in the quarter to September 2019, with around 10.6 million people reporting high anxiety.

People’s concerns about the general economic outlook continued to grow up to September 2019, reaching their highest level since late 2011.

Expectations about the economy were reflected in real household spending per person, which grew at its slowest rate since the end of 2016, when comparing the latest quarter with the same quarter a year ago.

On average, people spent less on cars in Quarter 3 2019 than they did in 2016, with spending on recreation and culture, and utilities growing more slowly over the same time.

Life Satisfaction Falls

Average life satisfaction decreased by 0.7%, from 7.71 to 7.66 (out of 10) between Quarter 3 2018 and Quarter 3 2019. This is the first time ratings of life satisfaction significantly fell when comparing with the same quarter the year before, since we started measuring it in 2011.

It is also the first significant change since early 2015 in what was a stable picture of life satisfaction in the UK. After this period, average life satisfaction ratings reached a plateau, with fluctuations quarter on quarter but no significant changes up to their deterioration in the latest quarter.

This deterioration in average life satisfaction was also reflected in the share of people reporting “low”‘ life satisfaction in the last year, which increased by 0.6 percentage points in the year to Quarter 3 2018 (from 4.2% to 4.8%).
Average ratings for the feeling that things done in life are worthwhile decreased by 0.5% in the year to Quarter 3 2019 (from 7.90 to 7.86). This is also the first time that these ratings significantly fell when comparing with the same quarter the year before, since we started our measurement in 2011.

There were no significant changes in the measures of happiness and anxiety in the most recent quarter. Average anxiety ratings (2.94 out of 10) remained stable, neither improving nor worsening since the increase seen up to Quarter 2 2019.

20.8%, or about 10.6 million people (out of a population aged 16 years and over), continued to report high anxiety, meaning there was no significant decrease in the share of people who might be struggling the most.

Read the full report by the Office for National Statistics


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