The Office for National Statistics (September 2017) has average UK happiness up from74.8% to 75.1% and according to the Torygraph, they say this is a significant increase. The Torygraph were keen to associate this with Brexit. Certainly, if you look at the map below, several parts of England and Shetland were up 6%. Meanwhile as many others were down 6%. As you might expect us uncomplaining, stable Scots were by contrast mostly only up or down by only 2% except for the Western Isles. The latter seems to contradict a recent survey suggesting they were amongst the best places to live in the UK.
However, The Bank of Scotland’s Annual Happiness Index (October 2017), according to the Scotsman has Scots happiness ‘soaring’ by 8% on average and suggests, for example:
‘Overall, this year’s findings show that people north of the Border are 12 per cent happier than when the survey began in 2015. Those in the Central Scotland area are almost 50 per cent more happy than they were last year.’
50% happier? Whit? Hard to believe there’s not something wrong in the survey methodology. Or have the local authorities been doping the water supply?
The report carried out online by YouGov concludes:
‘Overall, happiness in Scotland has never been higher, with the index showing growth every year since 2015, and increasing by 8 per cent in the last year alone.’
Returning to the ONS increase of 0.7% and comparing it with the YouGov increase of 8%, they seem quite different to me. No doubt the statisticians will tell us it’s complicated.
Either way it correlates with years of SNP government, bus passes and baby boxes, so that must be it.
Footnote: The Hootsman doesn’t actually credit the SNP but the government of the day gets the blame or the credit for anything usually on their pages.
Footnote 2: in 2014, Wilderness Scotland claimed walking was making us happier but I doubt we’re all walking more.