The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has produced a report, called Personal and economic well-being in the UK: February 2019. The report brings together data on personal wellbeing measures and economic wellbeing measures in an attempt to give a more detailed picture of the wellbeing of UK households.

Some of the national trends noted include:

  • Income and spending in the quarter July to September 2018 have increased.
  • Personal wellbeing measures, e.g. satisfaction with life, feeling worthwhile, personal happiness, have levelled off and people’s perception of the future is worsening.
  • Household debt per head is increasing and is now 133% of disposable income. When this is combined with increases in personal spending beyond disposable income, it suggests some households may be living beyond their means.
  • People perceive the economy and their personal financial situation will worsen over the next 12 months, continuing more pessimistic views seen since the beginning of 2018.
  • The trends may not necessarily be equally distributed across different parts of society; for example, between 2011 and 2016 financial years, average income for the bottom 20% of households increased by 4.8% or £589 while for the top 20% it increased by 6.7% or £4,123.
  •  It is important to highlight that national economic indicators may mask different experiences for different parts of the population. Types of spending differ depending on the gross income of the household. The poorest 20% of households spent over 43% of their total spending on food, housing and utilities, compared to the top 20% of households who spend over 26% on recreation and culture, as well as hotels and restaurants.