LONDON (Reuters) – People in Britain are at their happiest at the ages of 16 and 70, according to an analysis of UK national statistics published on Wednesday.
Teenagers score higher than young adults in their 20s on every level of subjective well-being, the study by the Resolution Foundation independent think-tank said.
As people move from their mid-50s towards retirement, all measures of subjective well-being rapidly increase, it found.
The “Happy now?” report analyzed seven years of data from the Office for National Statistics, which first began to collect subjective well-being data under former prime minister David Cameron in 2011.
Many retirees reported higher happiness and self-worth than 20-year-olds. Well-being was also bolstered by employment, physical health, home ownership, having a partner – and being female.
Residents of Northern Ireland scored the highest levels of happiness, satisfaction and life-worth, while Londoners reported the lowest of every metric except happiness.
Owning a home correlates with higher happiness, with private renters reporting the lowest life satisfaction, the study said.
“This important data shows that there is more to life than a country’s GDP, but that the employment and income trends that lie behind our economy can make a big difference to our well-being too,” said Research and Policy Analyst at the Resolution Foundation George Bangham.
“It is encouraging that a growing number of policy-makers are interested in boosting well-being,” he added. “But their focus on the new objective should complement, rather than replace, priorities such as income redistribution, better jobs and secure housing.”
“The evidence suggests that these core economic policies are effective ways to raise well-being.”
(Reporting by Madeleine Gandhi; editing by Stephen Addison)