Published On: Mon, Aug 13th, 2012

Well-being ratings: An Alternative Measure to GDP in the UK

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By Dr. Nubia Nieto

The Office for National Statistics in the United Kingdom has published its first report of National Wellbeing as an alternative measure of national performance to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

This research was designed with aim to understand better how society is doing and how to modify the public policies. Apparently, the performance of a country is not only measured in terms of GDP but also in the well-being and happiness of its population.

According to the well-being report having a job and owning your own home is the key for a happy life in Britain. 80% of the population interviewed reported a medium or high level of life satisfaction when they have their own home in comparison with 68% of people who lived in rented accommodations.

The report also revealed that women are more likely to experience higher levels of well-being than men who expressed more anxiety.  Among ethnic groups who experienced low level of well-being in Britain are from African or Caribbean descent in relation with other ethnicities such as Indian, Chinese, Mixed or White British backgrounds.

The well being statistics reported that employment is another key factor to feeling happy. In this sense, 45% of unemployed people considered that their life satisfaction is lower than 7 out of 10.

The well-being research in the UK is part of a set of researches carried out to find out the best indicators of happiness and encouraging economic growth, as well as reducing the levels of depression, hopelessness, and social stagnation.

The British government recently has expressed their concern for improving happiness in the country as a way not only to gain more votes for the conservative party, but also to empower the population against the negative feelings that reduce their confidence on the west civilisation. Chinese people, on the opposite, experience the strongest feelings of confidence and achievements.

The Office for National Statistics has published a list of 10 indicators of wellbeing, including health, education, income, work, and trust in politicians. The list also includes satisfaction of personal life which is measured in terms of balance between work and leisure activities, involvement of local activities, relations with your partner and environmental conditions.

The statisticians in the UK are very worried about the economic depression that the country is facing and they try to collect as much information as they can in order to reduce the effects of a sharp recession, after the economy fell by 0.7% between April and June of this year.

The consequences of the financial crisis has not stopped since 2008 and the contraction was much bigger than expected, reaching a 0.3% drop in the first three months of 2012 which is reflected not only in the drop standard of living of Britons but also in their confidence of themselves to face recession and maintain their position as a developed country in the world.

Dr. Nubia Nieto holds a Ph.D. in Geopolitics from the Sorbonne University of Paris I- Panthéon, France as well as Bachelor and Master degrees. She is a regular contributor to The Yucatan Times. She currently lives in London, where she works as an Independent Researcher. She specializes in political corruption and accountability, emerging markets, geopolitics, and Foreign Affairs policies. She has also been a researcher at World One, London, and consultant for Mediterranean Europe and Latin America, England. For Dr. Nubia Nieto´s complete bio please read, Presenting Dr. Nubia Nieto

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