Afro-Caribbean people in UK less satisfied with lives

Wed, Feb 29, 2012, 00:00

BLACK AND mixed race British are less satisfied with their lives on average than the United Kingdom population as a whole, according to an Office of National Statistics survey.

Nearly 80,000 people across the UK were polled by the ONS for its national well-being survey, with the average life satisfaction rating coming in at 7.4 out of 10.

However, the satisfaction rating for black British was significantly lower, at an average of 6.6, while that of mixed race British was just slightly better at 6.9.

The figures from other ethnic minorities were also below average: those of Pakistani origin recorded a 7 out of 10 rating, while Bangladeshis were slightly higher at 7.1.

The survey, conducted between April and September last year, was part of the ONS’s Measuring National Well-being Programme.

The reasons for the lower figures for ethnic minorities are not clear, but perhaps relate to “income, education or employment, or an element of discrimination or prejudice”.

However, people polled in Northern Ireland reported the highest satisfaction ratings at 7.6 – compared with 7.5 for Scotland and 7.4 for both England and Wales.

Married people throughout the UK are found to be the most satisfied, with a score of 7.7 out of 10, while those with children appear to believe their lives are more worthwhile than those without.

On average, adults who are married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting reported higher average ratings than those who are single, widowed, divorced, separated or formerly in a civil partnership.

“People living in households with children report significantly higher ratings for the ‘worthwhile’ question than those who live in households where no children are present. However, average ratings for the ‘life satisfaction’, ‘happy yesterday’ and ‘anxious yesterday’ questions do not vary between people who live in households with children and those who do not,” the Office of National Statistics declared.

People in the age ranges 16 to 19 and 65 to 79 reported higher levels of well-being than those in their middle years, who are deemed to be the grumpiest.

Meanwhile, adults living in London, facing high prices, difficult commutes and shortages in accommodation, reported the highest levels of anxiety in the previous day compared with other regions in England and with Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, recording just a 3.5 out of 10 rating.

Studies have also found a clear connection between income levels and contentment.

Labour MP Jo Swinson said that “promoting wellbeing should be at the heart of politics” and called for more investigations to be carried out.

The ONS survey, she said, was large enough to give a useful illustration of the feelings of black, African and Caribbean people who have “particularly low levels of life satisfaction”.