Happier than the Italians but not as cheery as the Danes: How satisfied with life are we?

Nassos Stylianou
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Denmark and Finland are the happiest of them all (Source: Getty)

Britons are happier than the Italians, but still some way off the Nordic countries in how satisfied they are with life.

According to a national wellbeing comparison of EU countries published by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) today, 72 per cent of adults aged 16 and over in the UK rated their satisfaction with life as seven or more out of 10.
This was slightly higher than the EU average of 69 per cent and quite similar to Germany and France. Danes and Finns are the happiest, with around 90 per cent of those giving a rating of seven or more.
Bulgarians rank as the most unsatisfied, with less than one in four giving a rating of above seven.

The figures also show that 82 per cent of those quizzed in the UK strongly agreed or agreed they generally felt that what they did in life was worthwhile, again higher than the EU average of 79 per cent. The lowest-ranking country was austerity-plagued Greece, with less than one in two.
The ONS analysis explores how key areas of wellbeing in the UK compared with those in the European Union, using comparable or similar European data where available from five sources, Eurostat, the European Quality of Life Survey, Eurobarometer, the Programme for International Students Assessment (PISA) and the World Gallup Poll.
In general the UK ranks well - above average but a few places off top spot compared to other European countries - but for measures like satisfaction with family and social life, as well as perceived health status, it comes close to the bottom of the pile in support for serious personal or family matters.

The percentage of UK respondents who reported they got support from a member of their family, a relative, friend, neighbour, or someone else if they needed advice about a serious personal or family matter was 89 per cent, with the EU average at 93. Only France and Denmark reported lower figures than the UK on this question.

The UK is not particularly neighbourly either, ranking above only Germany in how close they feel to their local area, with Cyprus and Romania at the top of the list.

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