Slim majority of Scots report feeling ‘broadly positive’

JUST over half of Scots are estimated to be ‘broadly positive’ about their lives, with one in ten responding to the same survey questions saying they feel the opposite.

The findings are revealed in a survey of over 2,200 people.

Says a media release issued by the joint authors of the survey: “Asked to rate their life on a scale from zero (the worst possible life) to ten (the best possible life), the Scottish population gave an average response of 6.18. A majority (51 per cent) reported a score of seven or higher, reflecting broadly positive feelings about their lives.

“The Scottish Wellbeing Index report, which is part of the quarterly Understanding Scotland survey launched by research consultancy Diffley Partnership and communications agency Charlotte Street Partners last month, has also found notable differences in wellbeing between demographic groups.”

The report can be read, here.

The release continues: “The report highlights that average wellbeing in the most deprived neighbourhoods is 19 per cent lower than in the most affluent, with respondents in the most deprived areas deeming their lives 20 per cent less worthwhile than their most affluent counterparts.

“In terms of regional inequalities, the Lothian region is both the happiest and most equal in terms of current subjective wellbeing, with an average score of 6.37 out of ten. Conversely, Glasgow is the least happy and most unequal by a considerable margin, with a mean score of 5.69.”

Among other findings:

  • Older and retired individuals report the highest average levels of wellbeing – both overall and on individual aspects thereof – but are unique in expecting this to fall in the coming years.
  • Wellbeing is, on average, 1.25 points or 23 per cent higher in the most prosperous fifth of neighbourhoods than in the most deprived 20 per cent. Respondents in the most deprived areas also deemed their lives 20 per cent less worthwhile than their most affluent counterparts, and were over five times as likely to be ‘not at all satisfied’ with their lives.
  • Employment status saw the starkest differences in wellbeing. Among the unemployed and the inactive/unable to work, respectively, average wellbeing is 26 per cent and 31 per cent below the national average.
  • On specific aspects of wellbeing the findings are broadly positive: 55 per cent and 58 per cent respectively deem their lives satisfying and worthwhile. Over half (55 per cent) had felt happy the previous day, but a third (32 per cent) reported feeling anxious.
  • Forms of employment have an evident impact on people’s sense of purpose, with the unemployed and those unable to work markedly less likely to feel things in their life are worthwhile, while the self-employed are most likely to do so.
  • While gender had only minor impacts on life satisfaction, worth and happiness, two in five female respondents (37 per cent) reported feeling anxious the previous day compared to only 26 per cent of men. Younger respondents were also markedly more anxious than their older counterparts.
  • While still below the national average, students report higher life satisfaction and happiness, and lower anxiety, than young people more broadly. Furthermore, they report above-average feelings of worth, leading their younger counterparts by 12 per cent in this regard.

Picture credit: Place Design Scotland

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