Welsh Government, Social Research, 41/2012
This report examines Annual Population Survey (APS) data containing new questions on Subjective Wellbeing (SWB). It focuses on comparisons between variations in SWB across countries of the UK and areas within Wales, as well as how SWB varies by demographic sub-groups within Wales. In particular, it identifies groups of individuals and areas within Wales where low levels of SWB are observed. Some of the key findings in the report are:
- Self-reported health appears to be the most important influence on SWB, with those in very bad health reporting by far the lowest levels of SWB. This is particularly noticeable for individuals with mental health problems.
- Unemployment is strongly linked with lower levels of SWB. The duration of unemployment is also important as the long-term unemployed are far more likely to report a low level of SWB.
- The influence of personal and household characteristics appears to be very similar in Wales to other parts of the UK. As a result, there is relatively little variation in SWB across the regions of the UK.
- Although SWB varies across areas within Wales, such as between unitary authorities, localities with different levels of deprivation and rurality, spatial factors are far less important than individual characteristics – so that apparent differences due to geography are largely explained by differences in the individual characteristics of people in the areas.
- For a more complete understanding of the dynamics of SWB it would also be necessary to examine panel data on SWB in Wales because of issues such as the adaption to particular circumstances.