The kids are all right: survey finds that most children are happy

More than half of those surveyed were 'completely happy' with their friends

Parents, breathe a sigh of relief, put up your feet, uncork the wine: your children are happy.

Nine out of 10, according to an official report yesterday, are experiencing a degree of personal satisfaction that may not be apparent from their grousing about their cheekbones, puzzlement at algebra and entreaties to divert more of your income into the profits of Nike Inc.

The pleasingly upbeat news comes from the Office of National Statistics, which has summarised the responses from “children to youth” questionnaires – attached to household surveys since 2009.

Measuring National Well-being – Children’s Well-being 2013 finds that, overwhelmingly, children of secondary school age are not festering balls of hormonal anger like Harry Enfield’s Kevin the Teenager, but spiritually serene individuals at one with their families and friends.

The children – all aged 10 to 15 – were asked: ‘How do you feel about your life as a whole, friends, family, school, school work, appearance?’ Responses were on a seven point scale from “completely happy” to “not at all happy”.

Overall, 89 per cent were relatively happy with their “life as a whole”, with only 4 per cent – one in 20 – describing themselves as unhappy (though the willingness of those at that age to self-identify misery may be an issue).

Within that statistical sea of happiness, however, landmarks stand out in the lives of folk travelling towards late childhood.

First, children very much like their friends – who were the group with whom they were most content. No fewer than 19 out of 20 secondary school-age children, a huge 96 per cent, were happy with their friends, the most positive outcome of any group.

More than half of those surveyed were “completely happy” with their friends. A touch lower came family, with a still hugely impressive happiness rating of 95 per cent. However, among those who liked both, more  were “completely happy” with their family than with friends.

Children were less happy with other areas of their life, largely involving the outside world, than they were with the individuals closest to them – though they still scored much more highly than one might expect. Some 82 per cent of children, for instance, were happy with their school. In total, around two thirds were either ‘completely happy’ or ‘somewhat happy’ with their school.

Schoolwork – somewhat surprisingly – achieved the same overall satisfaction rating as school itself – 82 per cent, though within that overall satisfaction more children experienced a lower degree of satisfaction, with many being only “somewhat happy” with schoolwork.

Of all the areas, perhaps because of the emphasis on celebrity culture and peer pressure, children were least happy with their appearance. Nonetheless, they were still fairly happy. Three-quarters of children were satisfied with their looks, of those 19 per cent “completely”, 31 per cent “mostly” and 25 per cent “somewhat”.

In general, boys were slightly happier than girls, 91 per cent against 88 per cent.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
Life and Style
life
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
News
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
news
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Lettings and Sales Negotiator - OTE £46,000

£16000 - £46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Home Care Worker - Reading and Surrounding Areas

£9 - £13 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a s...

Recruitment Genius: Key Sales Account Manager - OTE £35,000

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn