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Despite millions of people struggling with problem debts, people who live in the UK are getting happier year in, year out, according to official figures.

The marginal growth is perhaps a surprise given that 70% of the UK’s working population are ‘chronically broke’ but the new stats found that people in England drove the change between 2016-17.

As reported by The Guardian, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has quizzed over-16s since 2011 about their levels of life satisfaction, whether they feel worthwhile, and how anxious they’ve been feeling.

Small increase in UK happiness

The latest figures, for the 12 months to the end of September 2017, reveal another small increase in overall UK happiness.

Although the figures improved among people living in England, there have been no significant improvements in happiness in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland in the last year.

Commenting on the figures, Silvia Manclossi from the Office for National Statistics, said: “We have seen average ratings of personal wellbeing slightly improving over the years. Factors such as people’s social connections and health status play a key part in personal wellbeing.

“However, some economic factors are also important, so perhaps this trend over time is not surprising as the country came out of the economic downturn.

“We have also seen inequalities emerging within the data, and we will be exploring these further looking at factors that may contribute to some groups of society having lower personal wellbeing.”

Life satisfaction

When the ONS began measuring happiness in 2011, the average happiness score (out of 10) was 7.29. However, in 2017, it rose to 7.52. In terms of feeling “worthwhile” the average score has risen from 7.67 to 7.87.

Apparently things are especially good for those aged over 30. ONS said since it started measuring happiness there have been improvements for all measures of personal wellbeing among those aged 30 to 34, 40 to 59 and 65 to 69. The happiest age group are now those between 70 and 74 years old.

Interestingly, women reported higher life satisfaction, worthwhile and happiness ratings compared with men – but they also reported higher levels of anxiety.

Anxiety levels among the UK population have dropped since 2011, from 3.13 to 2.92, though they are up slightly since their lows in 2015.

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