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January 2024

How has UK wellbeing changed over time? Evidence from the Annual Population Survey 2012-2022

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How has UK wellbeing changed over time? Evidence from the Annual Population Survey 2012-2022

About the report

The overall state of people’s wellbeing can have serious impacts on productivity, health and other social and economic factors – with evidence that better mental wellbeing considerably reduces national productivity losses.

This means it is crucial for us to understand and track how people are doing. Gauging how UK residents have been affected by these socioeconomic forces and help policymakers infer what kind of policy interventions are necessary to support them.

To do this, we can look at national data, such as the Annual Population Survey (APS). This is a combined survey of households in the UK conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), containing information regarding personal wellbeing. Each survey is carried out in the April of a particular year and finishes in the March of the subsequent year. We have collected and analysed all APS surveys between 2012/13 to 2021/22. The advantage of using the APS is its relatively greater sample size that has responded to the wellbeing questions.

Using data from the APS, this report aims to: 

  1. analyse and discuss the wellbeing of individuals in the UK over time and break this down by income, geography and demographic variables; 
  2. assess whether the Covid-19 pandemic has had an impact on the wellbeing of individuals in the UK
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