Is East Northamptonshire the Most Miserable Place to live?

According to a 2016 government survey by the Office of National Statistics, the residents of Oundle live in the most miserable area in the country.

The survey measured four factors: life-satisfaction, well-being, happiness and anxiety. East Northamptonshire scored the worst overall across the four categories.

Personal well-being questions were posed to a number of people in each area of the country to understand how people felt about their lives, and to see how the well-being of the country was improving.

The ‘life satisfaction’ and ‘worthwhile’ scores for East Northamptonshire don’t stand out as particularly negative; they more or less coincide with the UK average.

However, the ‘happiness’ data is unfortunately not so positive. East Northamptonshire is the least happy area in the country with a score of just 7.01 as opposed to the UK average of 7.6. Corby, which was rated separately, is fractionally happier at 7.08. Worse still, the happiness of people in the area appears to have plummeted in the past two years: in 2014 it was 7.48.

The ‘anxiety’ data has also become significantly worse in the past two years, from 2.93 to 3.62. This is a significant increase of anxious people in a short period of time, especially when compared to the UK average 2.9 in 2016.

These statistics lead one to question what would account for this data about what appears to be a beautiful area of the country. East Northamptonshire is a pleasant place to live, particularly in towns like Oundle with its beautiful buildings, cheerful atmosphere, and friendly people.

Although this does not appear particularly positive for the residents of East Northamptonshire, it is not all doom and gloom. Personal wellbeing has been improving since 2012.

According to Dawn Snape from the quality of life department at the Office of National Statistics: ‘We have seen personal well-being improving on a UK-wide basis over the past five years. But today’s data paints a richer picture, enabling people to explore what’s been happening in their local area. This will help individuals, communities, and local authorities to look at well-being locally alongside other traditional measures of progress.’

Lucy Baker-Cresswell
December 2016