Majority of Scots happy with their lives despite stark societal differences, new wellbeing index finds

A new survey has revealed that 51% of the Scottish public feel broadly positive

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A new survey measuring wellbeing data in Scotland has revealed that 51% of the Scottish public feel broadly positive about their life at present, with only 10% feeling broadly negative. However, there are considerable demographic and regional differences among societal groups.

Asked to rate their life on a scale from 0 (the worst possible life) to 10 (the best possible life), the Scottish population gave an average response of 6.18. A majority (51%) reported a score of 7 or higher, reflecting broadly positive feelings about their lives.

The Scottish Wellbeing Index report, which is part of the quarterly Understanding Scotland survey launched by research consultancy Diffley Partnership and communications agency Charlotte Street Partners last month, has also found notable differences in wellbeing between demographic groups.

The report highlights that average wellbeing in the most deprived neighbourhoods is 19% lower than in the most affluent, with respondents in the most deprived areas deeming their lives 20% less worthwhile than their most affluent counterparts. In terms of regional inequalities, the Lothian region is both the happiest and most equal in terms of current subjective wellbeing, with an average score of 6.37 out of 10. Conversely, Glasgow is the least happy and most unequal by a considerable margin, with a mean score of 5.69.

People in Scotland are also broadly optimistic about their wellbeing over the next five years, according to the index. With the exception of retirees and older respondents, all groups anticipate higher wellbeing in five years’ time. While still below the national average, students report higher life satisfaction and happiness, as well as lower anxiety, than young people more broadly.

Mark Diffley, founder and director of the Diffley Partnership, said: “As we emerge from the pandemic and seek to forge a wellbeing economy, a robust, reliable and regular tracker of Scottish wellbeing has never been more important. This inaugural report highlights significant differences in how different parts of society are feeling, with wellbeing driven by issues such as age, employment status, and where you live. We hope that this data is useful for decisionmakers across the public, private, and third sectors in helping to understand the nation’s wellbeing.”

The full Scottish Wellbeing Index report, which can be found here, will be conducted regularly as part of the survey’s wider efforts to collect and monitor data on what the Scottish population feel and think.

It is the second in a series of reports taking the pulse of Scotland, the first of which gauged the Scottish public’s priorities and levels of trust in key institutions as the country emerges from the pandemic.


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