Recession leads to… happiness?

By Alex Gangitano

The period of economic turmoil since the financial crisis has actually coincided with an increase in people's wellbeing, an official study has found.

Figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) in the first annual report on 'Life in the UK' showed a spike in happiness in 2009, when GDP was at its weakest point and the banks were being bailed out.

Between 2007 and 2008, there was a decrease of 0.17 points in average life satisfaction.

But between 2008 and 2009, as the banks wobbled on the edge of a precipice, there was an increase of 0.4 points in average life satisfaction.

The World Database of Happiness attributed the fall in life satisfaction in 2007 to people's initial reaction to the recession.

The spike in 2008 was attributed to the period when an individual's income was not immediately affected and people felt better.

Happiness was assessed in regards to the economy, people and the environment.

The ONS launched the Measuring National Well-being programme in 2010 to determine 'what matters' to understand happiness.