According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, which just published a study on how the global financial crisis has impacted people's levels of happiness and well-being, the United Kingdom is one of the greatest locations to live and work.
The report took into account 25 different factors within housing, income, jobs, community, education, environment, civic engagement, and health to give a rough indication of well-being within each OECD country. These factors include: housing, income, jobs, community, education, environment, and health.
It came to the conclusion that the areas in which the United Kingdom genuinely excelled among industrialized nations were its high level of environmental quality, our social participation, personal security, and the opportunity for interaction with civic society. When it comes to work life and wealth, the United Kingdom was likewise ranked in the top 20 percent of performing countries.
On the other hand, it did not do as well when it came to schooling or how content we were with our own lives, despite the fact that on each of these measures, it scored better than the OECD average.
The criteria used to rank the nations
As was mentioned earlier, there were a total of 25 distinct factors that were taken into consideration for each country. These factors were subsequently separated into 11 distinct dimensions, which are as follows: education, work-life balance, subjective well-being, housing, health-status, income and wealth, jobs and earnings, civic engagement, personal security, social connections, and environmental quality.
For instance, the education component included the following aspects: the level of education attained, the student's talents, and the number of years spent in school.
A red light, a yellow light, or a green light was given to the nation depending on each of these characteristics. They were in the poorest 20 percent of OECD nations if the light was red, in the top 20 percent of OECD countries if the light was green, and somewhere in the middle if the light was yellow.
With the help of this traffic light system, the United Kingdom was one of the nations that performed the best, along with the countries of the Nordic Europe, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.
Nations such as the United States, Ireland, Germany, France, and Japan were among those that racked up a significant number of yellow flags, whilst countries such as Turkey, Greece, Brazil, and Mexico were among those with an overall poor performance.
The United Kingdom: an effective communicator
According to the survey, the people of the United Kingdom may have a perception of themselves as being too polite and secretive; nonetheless, we are one of the countries with the highest quality of social ties.
The survey found that 95 percent of individuals in the UK think they have friends that they can trust on. The data for this finding came from a global Gallup poll that was conducted in 2012. The only countries that do better than Ireland and Iceland are Iceland (98%) and Ireland (96%) respectively.
This placed the United Kingdom five percentage points above the OECD average and twenty-two percentage points above the nation with the lowest performance, Turkey, where twenty-three percent of respondents did not believe they had friends they could trust on.
Given that just 66 percent of the eligible population voted in the most recent general election, which is six percentage points lower than the average for the OECD, it may come as a surprise to learn that the United Kingdom performed very well when it came to gauging civic involvement.
The fact that the United Kingdom has a consultation process before implementing new regulations contributed much to its success. The United Kingdom had a score of 11.5, which was much higher than the average score for the OECD, which was 7.3. This score was determined by asking public authorities in each nation a set of questions that were used to compile the data.
Despite the fact that it included the expenditures scandal, the period of time between 2007 and 2011 showed a very tangible growth in trust in public institutions and democracy in the United Kingdom. In 2011, 47 percent of individuals in the United Kingdom said they trusted the government, which is an increase from the 36 percent who said the same thing in 2007.
A pleasant atmosphere
When it comes to the quality of their water supplies, the United Kingdom and Iceland were the nations that performed the best. 97 percent of individuals in both nations were satisfied with the quality of the water that was available to them, which is 13 percentage points higher than the average satisfaction level recorded by the OECD.
Only 49 percent of individuals in Russia were satisfied with the quality of the water that was available to them, making them the country that did the poorest in this area.
When it comes to the second environmental element that was examined, namely air pollution, the United Kingdom performed considerably better than the average of the OECD.
Examining the repercussions of the recent financial crisis
According to the authors of the paper, the ordinary individual living in the United Kingdom has been affected by the financial crisis significantly less severely than those living in other OECD nations. The discretionary income of people in European nations as a whole decreased by an average of 2 percent between 2007 and 2011, although it increased, if only little, by 1 percent in the United Kingdom.
However, the situation was considerably more bleak when it came to equality in the United Kingdom. During the period in question, market income inequality (prior to taxes and transfers) grew by 2 percent, which is far higher than the 1.2 percent average growth seen throughout the OECD. Additionally, both short-term and long-term unemployment both increased by approximately 2 percent throughout the time period.
According to the survey, the United Kingdom is one of the finest nations in terms of well-being; nonetheless, the people living there do not believe that their lives are going exceptionally well. On the score of life satisfaction, the United Kingdom is only slightly higher than the OECD average, although it is far lower than Nordic nations such as Sweden.
Despite this, the number of individuals who report being very content with their life has climbed from 63 percent to 64 percent throughout the course of the financial crisis.
Why it is so difficult to gauge one's level of happiness
It has always been challenging to evaluate the state of people's well-being, particularly when deciding which aspects should be given more weight. Many individuals, of course, would believe that the amount of discretionary spending they have is more vital to their well-being than the quality of the water they drink.
When it comes to the level of well-being that individuals experience, there is a significant gap between persons in the various parts of society. In the United Kingdom, for instance, women do far worse than men on indicators such as employment rates, yet on the whole, women report being happier with their lives than men do. There are disparities of a comparable kind between young people and older people.
The OECD was aware of this fact, and as a response, they developed an online tool called the Better Life Index. With this program, users are able to rate their own personal priorities and see how those rankings compare to those of other nations.
Do you believe that the well-being of people in the UK is generally high? How did things go in your own country? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, send us a tweet, or share your thoughts on Twitter.