In Brief

The secret to life satisfaction revealed

ONS reveals good health and marriage matters more than spending on hotels, restaurants and household furnishings

Good health and a happy marriage does more to improve someone’s life satisfaction than splashing out on new things, new research has found.

A report from the Office for National Statistics has revealed that while spending on the likes of hotels, restaurants and household furnishings was associated with life satisfaction, it mattered less than personal circumstances such as good health and marital status.

While health topped the list of factors, analysis found that age also mattered. The young have higher life satisfaction than those in their 40s but life satisfaction rises again in later years as people reach retirement, before falling again for those in their 80s.

Unsurprisingly, being unemployed or economically inactive due to sickness or disability had a significant negative impact on life satisfaction.

Based on its annual population survey and a separate survey on the effects of taxes and benefits, the BBC says the ONS “is looking beyond the official GDP gauge to try to form a broader picture of the economy”.

“There is no evidence of a statistically significant association between household disposable income and life satisfaction overall after accounting for other characteristics [such as age, marriage and employment status]” the ONS said.

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