- Personal wellbeing levels in 2022/23 have fallen at a rate not seen since 2020
- The Shetland Islands and Na h-Eileanan Siar took the top spots as the happiest areas
The happiest and least happy areas of the UK have been revealed in a fascinating map.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) asks Britons to rate their happiness, life satisfaction, anxiety and sense of worth out of 10 each year.
The results showed that happiness fell to 7.39 in 2022/23, the lowest figure recorded since 2020/21, when the Covid pandemic began.
The North West, Yorkshire and Humber, East Midlands and the East of England saw rates fall.
But it was Adur, in West Sussex, that came last as the unhappiest area, with residents rating their happiness at 6.16, on average.
ONS statisticians did not indicate what specifically could be behind the drop. But the data covers the period when Britain was plunged into a cost of living crisis.
Your browser does not support iframes.
The Shetland Islands in Scotland (pictured) recorded the happiest rate, at 8.22 out of 10, and Na h-Eileanan Siar, the Outer Hebrides, in second place at 8.12.
Dozens of studies have also suggested that Covid lockdowns caused physical and mental health to plummet.
The ONS interactive tool allows you to search for scores for life satisfaction, sense of worth, happiness and anxiety (the four pillars that the ONS says make up personal well-being) in your local area.
The ONS has asked Britons to report these scores out of 10 for these four areas since 2011 and has measured whether it has gotten better or worse each year since then.
The four personal well-being questions include: “How satisfied are you with your life today?”
Volunteers are also asked: ‘To what extent do you feel that the things you do in your life are worthwhile?’, ‘How happy were you yesterday?’ and ‘How anxious did you feel yesterday?’.
The Shetland Islands recorded the happiest rate, with 8.22 out of 10 and Na h-Eileanan Siar (Outer Hebrides) came second in 8:12.
They were followed by North Kesteven in Lincolnshire (8.09), Pendle, Lancashire (8.06) and Malvern Hills (8.06), which are located in Worcestershire, Herefordshire and north Gloucestershire.
At the other end of the scale was Adur and then Hastings in East Sussex with 6.56.
THE 10 HAPPIEST LOCAL AUTHORITIES
1. Shetland Islands: 8.22
2. Na h-Eileanan Siar: 8.12
3. North Kesteven: 8.09
4. Slope: 8.06
5. Malvern Hills: 8.06
6. Torridge: 8.05
7. Cannock Chase: 8.04
8. Newham: 8.0
9. Middle Sussex: 7.96
10. Middle Ulster: 7.95
THE 10 UNHAPPY LOCAL AUTHORITIES
1. Adur: 6.16
2. Hastings: 6.56
3. Eastbourne: 6.57
5. Waltham Forest: 6.82
6. Ashfield: 6.82
7. Manchester: 6.85
8. Tower Villages: 6.87
9. Gedling: 6.88
10. Southern Hams: 6.9
Eastbourne, Lincoln and the outer London borough of Waltham Forest also recorded scores of just 6.57, 6.57 and 6.82 respectively.
On average, the UK scored 7.39 out of 10 for happiness, a drop from the 7.45 recorded in 2021/22. Excluding the first year of the pandemic, the figure is the lowest recorded since 2013/14.
Overall, 8.9 percent of people reported low levels of happiness, up from 8.5 percent the previous year.
Satisfaction with life and the feeling of achieving something worthwhile also fell to 7.45 and 7.73 respectively, compared to 7.54 and 7.77 in the year ending March 2022.
Anxiety levels, meanwhile, increased from 3.12 to 3.23. Apart from the year Covid arrived, this is the highest number on record.
But statistically significant changes were only seen in all measures in England.
The lack of statistical significance in the changes in the devolved countries may be due to less data collection, the ONS noted, concluding that there was less certainty in its estimates.
The data shows that those who reported low levels of wellbeing were more likely to be in “very poor” health, have a disability, be separated or have no qualifications.