Middle age is the most depressing time of our lives, according to the Government's wellbeing survey


Click to follow
The Independent Online

If you are about to reach middle age, it might be best to look away now: people in their 40s and 50s really are more miserable than the rest of us.

The latest results in the Government’s national wellbeing survey detailing how we feel about relationships, wealth, health and education among other aspects of life, shows that 45- to 54-year olds rated their life satisfaction lower than any other age at 7.1 out of 10 compared with an average of 7.5 across the UK. People aged 16 to 19 and 65 to 79 rated their life satisfaction higher than any other age groups, at 7.8 out of 10.

Adults aged 16 and over were asked "overall, how satisfied are you with your life nowadays?" where 0 is "not at all" and 10 is "completely". The results show that White and Indian respondents are on average the most satisfied with their lives (7.5 out of 10) while the Black/African/Caribbean/Black British respondents are the least satisfied (6.9 out of 10).

Northern Ireland had proportionately more people than anywhere in the UK rating their life satisfaction as very high (33.1 per cent) whereas Wales had proportionately more people than any other country in the UK rating their life satisfaction as very low (6.7 per cent). In England more people said they were happiest in the south west and least satisfied with life in the north east.

The latest figures also found that those aged 65 to 74 had the highest proportion with a spouse, family member or friend to rely on if they have a serious problem (92.3 per cent) and those aged 16–24 had the lowest proportion (82.2 per cent).

Dr Hannah Green, researcher from relationship charity OnePlusOne said: “For many years wellbeing had just been about material wealth. However, money can’t buy you happiness and one of the important things for happiness is relationships.

“These relationships may buffer and protect us from the hardships caused by these problems. Good quality relationships contribute to wellbeing, not just our own, but to everyone we share our life with.”

TV presenter Dan Snow, 35, said: “There’s more to do but we’re very lucky to live here and now.”