Sat, 01 Oct 2016
IT’S official… West Berkshire is the joint-happiest place to live in the county, according to new figures from the Office of National Statistics.
The national survey has also revealed the district’s residents are the most satisfied with life, view their life pursuits as being worthwhile and are some of the least stressed, when compared to neighbouring areas.
The figures, released this week, lay bare the happiest, most miserable and most stressful places in the country.
And our district fairs rather well in the survey with residents scoring 7.67 out of 10 for happiness – the joint highest score across Berkshire with Windsor and Maidenhead.
The statistics may not make good reading for those in Slough, however, which was revealed to be the least happy area in Berkshire (scoring 7.28) and by far and away the most stressed with residents scoring 3.26 out of 10.
This compared to a fairly chilled 2.94 out of 10 anxiety score for West Berkshire residents.
The ONS publication estimates personal well-being for UK local authorities over the last five years with residents asked four questions.
“Overall, how satisfied are you with your life nowadays?; Overall, to what extent do you feel the things you do in your life are worthwhile?; Overall, how happy did you feel yesterday?; “Overall, how anxious did you feel yesterday?”
People were asked to respond on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is ‘not at all’ and 10 is ‘completely’.
People in West Berkshire appear to be more than content with things in general, scoring 7.87 out of 10 for life satisfaction – the highest in Berkshire, with Slough once again scoring the lowest with 7.42 out of 10.
The region scored 7.97 out of 10 in the worthwhile category – joint top again with Windsor and Maidenhead.
The survey found the Outer Hebrides off the Scottish mainland to be the happiest place to live, with residents scoring 8.24 out of 10 in the last year.
While parts of the Midlands, around Rushden and Thrapston, were deemed the least happiest place to live, scoring just 7.01 in the past 12 months.
When it comes to general satisfaction with life, people in Corby recorded the lowest score, while those in mid and East Antrim, Northern Ireland, reported being the most satisfied.
According to the ONS, well-being levels have been stagnating over the past year despite the country getting wealthier.
However, West Berkshire is bucking the national trend with happiness, life satisfaction and the worthwhile score all increasing since 2015.
The figures take into account the financial year, however, so the district’s current happiness and stress levels may be different following the unprecedented cuts to public services made by West Berkshire Council in March.