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How happy is YOUR area? Interactive map reveals UK’s cheeriest boroughs as wellbeing scores dip in wake of the pandemic

  • Personal wellbeing levels in 2022/23 have fallen to a rate not seen since 2020 
  • Shetland Islands and Na h-Eileanan Siar claimed top slots as the happiest areas 

An interactive map has revealed Britain’s happiest — and unhappiest — districts. 

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) asks tens of thousands Brits to rank their happiness, life satisfaction, anxiety and sense of worth out of 10 every year.

Average happiness scores dropped to 7.39 in 2022/23 — the lowest figure logged since 2020/21, when the Covid pandemic began.

Adur in West Sussex claimed the bottom slot, with residents ranking their score as 6.16, on average.

Statisticians did not indicate what specifically could be behind the drop. Although, the data covers the period in which Britain was plunged into a cost of living crisis. 

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The Shetland Islands in Scotland (pictured) logged the happiest rate, with 8.22 out of 10 and Na h-Eileanan Siar — the Outer Hebrides — in second at 8.12

The ONS interactive tool allows you to look up scores for life satisfaction, sense of worth, can i use elidel on my eyelids happiness and anxiety — the four pillars the ONS says make up personal wellbeing — in your local area.

The ONS has asked Brits to report these scores out of 10 for these four areas since 2011 and has measured whether it has improved or worsened every year since. 

The four personal well-being questions, include: ‘How satisfied are you with your life nowadays?’.

Volunteers are also asked: ‘To what extent do you feel the things you do in your life are worthwhile?’, ‘how happy did you feel yesterday?’ and ‘how anxious did you feel yesterday?’.

The Shetland Islands logged the happiest rate, with 8.22 out of 10 and Na h-Eileanan Siar — the Outer Hebrides — in second at 8.12. 

They were followed by North Kesteven in Lincolnshire (8.09), Pendle, Lancashire (8.06) and the Malvern Hills (8.06), which sit across Worcestershire, Herefordshire and northern Gloucestershire. 

At the other end of the scale came Adur and then Hastings in East Sussex with 6.56. 


1. Shetland Islands: 8.22

2. Na h-Eileanan Siar: 8.12

3. North Kesteven: 8.09

4. Pendle: 8.06

5. Malvern Hills: 8.06

6. Torridge: 8.05

7. Cannock Chase: 8.04

8. Newham: 8.0

9.  Mid Sussex: 7.96

10. Mid Ulster: 7.95 


1. Adur: 6.16

2. Hastings: 6.56

3. Eastbourne: 6.57

4. Lincoln: 6.57

5. Waltham Forest: 6.82

6. Ashfield: 6.82

7. Manchester: 6.85

8. Tower Hamlets: 6.87

9. Gedling: 6.88

10. South Hams: 6.9 

Eastbourne, Lincoln and the outer London borough, Waltham Forest, also logged scores of just 6.57, 6.57 and 6.82 respectively.  

On average, the UK scored 7.39 out of 10 for happiness, a drop on the 7.45 logged in 2021/22. Excluding the first year of the pandemic, the figure is the lowest recorded since 2013/14.

Overall, 8.9 per cent of people reported low levels of happiness — up from 8.5 per cent during the previous year. 

Life satisfaction and feelings of achieving something worthwhile also fell to 7.45 and 7.73 respectively, compared to 7.54 and 7.77 in the year ending March 2022. 

Anxiety levels, meanwhile, rose from 3.12 to 3.23. Apart from the year Covid hit, this is the highest figure on record.

But statistically significant changes were only seen across the measures for England.

Lack of statistical significance in changes in the devolved countries may be because of less data collected, the ONS noted, concluding there was less certainty in its estimates.

Data shows that those reporting low levels of wellbeing were more likely to be suffering from ‘very bad’ health, have a disability, be separated or have no qualifications.

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