It’s official: Brits are three-quarters happy

By Alex Stevenson

The first experimental figures measuring Britain's happiness are suggesting that the country's pursuit of happiness is three-quarters complete.

Initial data from the Office for National Statistics based on a survey of 80,000 adults last spring and summer suggests that the overall life satisfaction rating for the country is roughly 7.5 out of ten.

England and Wales' overall rating was 7.4, compared to 7.5 for Scotland and 7.6 for Northern Ireland. There was very limited differences between different regions of England – although those living in London registered the highest levels of anxiety.

The figures were compiled from the answers to four questions put to respondents, including 'how satisfied are you with your life nowadays?' and 'how happy did you feel yesterday?'

British happiness levels are being explored after David Cameron fulfilled a pledge made in opposition to explore ways of measuring the state of the nation beyond economic indicators like GDP.

The ONS completed a consultation on how to measure wellbeing last month. It proposes supplementing the basic subjective questions by asking people how they feel about areas affecting their lives including health, employment, crime, education and skills.

It pointed out that Angel Gurria, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's secretary-general, had offered his support for the new focus.

He said: "The current economic crisis has shown that it is essential to make well-being a central criteria for determining policies."