ONS show just how hard ‘well-being’ is hit by low incomes and wealth
The ONS report ‘Relationship between Wealth, Income and Personal Well-being, July 2011 to June 2012’ may not be hugely surprising , but vividly shows the how dependent personal well-being is on a decent standard of living.
For the ONS, well being has four aspects, ‘life satisfaction’, ‘sense of worth’, ‘happiness’ and ‘anxiety’.
The following charts show the relationship between well-being and income, by household income decile. Plainly all aspects of well being are to some extent a function of income, ‘sense of worth’ most strikingly negative for those on low incomes against positive and not greatly different outcomes for all other income groups. (From a technical point of view, ONS have the relations between income and ‘life satisfaction’ and ‘happiness’ significant in the statistical sense, i.e. stronger and less likely to have occurred just by chance.)
The next charts show the relation between well-being and wealth. Here the results are utterly clear- cut. ‘Life satisfaction’, ‘sense of worth’ and ‘happiness’ are greatly reduced for those on lower wealth; ‘anxiety’ is greatly increased. (All four aspects are significant in the statistical sense.)
This is not earth-shattering stuff, but it is a measure of the damage to individuals and likely their families caused by low income and hardship. As policy gears up to take an even harder line with the most vulnerable, this damage is likely only to intensify.