UK health, wealth and happiness hit lowest in a decade
UK health, wealth and happiness hit lowest levels in a decade, new research finds.
A new health, wealth and happiness index compiled with Cebr for LifeSearch records the lowest score in a decade as Covid-19 struck in the second half of 2020.
Almost half of UK adults (46%) are less happy today than they were before the pandemic.
The happiness of Britons hit an all-time high in the first part of 2021, dropping 18% from the same period last year, while the wealth aspect rebounded in the first part of the year. year at the highest level since the start of the pandemic.
It seems the nation is divided as 29% feel richer and 25% healthier since the start of the pandemic versus 24% who feel less rich and 34% less healthy.
Homework lockdown has given adults an extra 44 minutes a day for entertainment and leisure, and 63% say their work-life balance is perfect in 2021
The health, wealth and happiness of the British population hit their lowest level in a decade in the second quarter of 2020, with the events of the past year causing the most dramatic changes in feelings that have impacted these three key elements of our daily life.
New LifeSearchHealth Wealth and Happiness Index (HWH Index) compiled with the Center for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) tracks the evolution of the three indices individually and combined, going back to 2011.
The top five things that make people happy in 2021 are:
Health of the nation
In 2020, the HealthIndex stood at 74.7, the lowest of the last decade and suffered its largest year-on-year decline (49%) in the second quarter of 2020, as the spread of Covid-19 took a toll on ravages. The UK death rate was a key factor, but some aspects showed moderate improvement; the prevalence of sick leave among workers fell for much of 2020 while at the height of the pandemic, the number of GP appointments was down 31% and admissions for A&E were on the rise down 57% on an annual basis, potentially masking the index from the lower Health Index chart 2011-2021.
At the same time, the study found that nearly one in three Britons (29%) felt less healthy now in 2021 compared to the pre-pandemic period, or 32% of women. Meanwhile, 25% feel healthier now, which is increasing among young people (41%).
- More than a third of Britons (36%) say they have eaten more comfortably in the past year, rising to 43% of women and 49% of young people.
- 21% drank more alcohol, rising to 29% of 18-34 year olds and 24% of 35-43 year olds. On the other hand, 27% more say they drank less, rising to 30% of women. Although pubs are mostly closed for the majority of 2020, spending on alcohol has not changed dramatically; from £ 19.30 per adult per month in 2019 to £ 19.70 in 2021.
- A third (34%) of Britons feel less fit now than before Covid, rising to 38% of women. On the other hand, 25% feel healthier now than pre-Covid, rising to 39% among young people and 30% among those on leave.
When it comes to our mental health, LifeSearch found that many more adults say things got worse (39%) rather than better (14%) over the past year, rising to 45% of women. and 48% of young people. Weekly survey data released by YouGov shows sizable spikes in the proportion of the UK population experiencing feelings such as stress, fear, sadness and apathy during the pandemic.
For each of these metrics, there were all-time highs of 50%, 36%, 33% and 24% in 2020, respectively. Despite this, LifeSearch found that only 14% of adults worked to improve their well-being in the past year and 24% did less to actively improve their well-being compared to the pre-pandemic period. Only 9% sought professional advice, or 17% of 18-34 year olds.
A key issue impacting the mental health of many Britons is work-life balance. The LifeSearch study found that 57% of all workers have worked from home at some point during the pandemic, and ONS data suggests that the increasing prevalence of working from home has led to an average of 44 additional minutes per day per adult for entertainment and recreation. over the past year. The study also found that more adults now (63% in 2021) feel their work-life balance is about right, up from 59% in 2019.
However, nearly a third (29%) of the UK workforce still feel they work too much, increasing among the top earners (35% of those earning between £ 40,000 and £ 50,000 and 37% of those earning more than £ 100,000) and those working in the healthcare sector. (36%), financial services / banking (32%) and manufacturing (31%).
More than a third (34%) of Britons say they have worked more hours since the start of the pandemic, increasing among young people (42%), those with children under 18 (42%) and those with high income (46% for those earning over £ 100,000). In fact, 10.8 million workers1 worked an average of 6.1 more hours in the past year. Increased work demands (43%), time spent not commuting (25%) and difficulty disconnecting at home (24%) are the main reasons. While many may have had more free time due to working from home, it was not all easy:
One in three people (31%) found working from home more stressful
34% do not have a suitable work-from-home setup
Almost half (46%) feel cut off from their colleagues
Wealth of the nation
The economic fallout from Covid-19 translated into a significant drop in the WealthIndex in 2020, which fell to 79.5 in Q2, before falling to 76.3 in Q3, but it’s not yet as low as levels seen in 2011 (Q4, 66.4), after the European sovereign debt crisis had rocked the stock market – Wealth Index Chart 2011-21.
To date, government support has kept unemployment rates low (increasing just 0.1 percentage point between Q1 and Q2 of 2020), but a decline in wage growth has exerted a downward pressure on the index. However, the household savings rate hit a record high of 25.9% in the second quarter, stock markets rallied and UK house prices remained resilient, helping to dampen the overall decline in the WealthIndex. . In fact, in the first quarter of 2021, the WealthIndex rebounded to 83.6 on strong earnings and asset price growth.
Yet on a more granular level, the LifeSearch study found that the impact of the pandemic on household finances is distributed among the population; almost one in three Britons (29%) feel better financially now about the pre-pandemic, rising to 34% of 18-34 year olds and ABC1s. However, 24% more feel worse off, rising to 27% of women, 35% of those working part-time, 37% of those on leave and 35% of those working in the third sector.
The pandemic has meant that more than half (56%) of all Britons reassessed their finances, rising to 76% among 18-34 year olds. A quarter (24%) of Britons have saved money; 21% took a closer look at spending; and 9% have paid off their debts. Looking ahead to the second half of 2021, nearly seven in 10 Britons (72%) are worried about their wealth and finances in 2021 and 25% fear bills will rise, 19% are wary of the introduction new taxes and 19% fear the lack. savings.
Happiness of the nation
The HappinessIndex suffered tumultuous drops in 2020, with much of the year characterized by severe uncertainties and restrictions on the lives of individuals. Mirroring the patterns of the HealthIndex, between Q1 and Q2 of 2020, the HappinessIndex fell 9.5% to a record low of 84.8, offsetting the latest largest drop of 5.9% , seen in the fourth quarter of 2019, when uncertainty and political divisiveness raged amid a general. Election campaign and instability in the face of the UK’s future departure from the EU. The index rose in Q3 as foreclosure measures eased, but fell again in Q4 2020 and again in Q1 2021. Q1 2021 figure stood at a record high of 76.4 – Graph of the 2011-21 happiness index.
Almost half of UK adults (46%) in 2021 said in the LifeSearch study that they were less happy than a year ago. Reflecting this, the 2021 World Happiness Report found that the UK fell five spots to 18th on the global list as we experienced one of the most dramatic declines in national happiness compared to to other countries. Being separated from family and friends (60%) and feelings of isolation (41%) and anxiety (32%) were the main reasons people were less satisfied.
Three in four adults (75%) say that what makes them truly happy – such as the freedom to go where they want to go and to see friends – has changed in the past 12 months, rising to 82% among young people.
Nina Skero, Managing Director of the Center for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), said: “When you think about the past year, health, wealth and happiness are not the first words that come to mind for most, but there is reason to be optimistic. before. Given the continued deployment of vaccines and the roadmap for easing restrictions, Cebr anticipates a return to economic growth, with quarterly GDP growth of 4.5% and 4.2% expected respectively in T2 and T3. The combination of these factors should lead to improvements in health, wealth and happiness.
“Nonetheless, there are still considerable downside risks. One of the most important short-term developments will be the upcoming reduction in the leave program, which is expected to be completely withdrawn at the end of September. Cebr expects this to be accompanied by an increase in layoffs, leading to a peak in unemployment of 6.5% in the last quarter of 2021 and thus putting some strain on the livelihoods of individuals.
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