We're satisfied but are we happy?By Julie Spencer
August 03, 2012
People in Wokingham are more satisfied and feel more worthwhile than most living in the rest of the country – but they are not brimming with happiness.
That’s the findings of the latest Government survey which set out to take the emotional temperature of the country.
The Measuring National Well-Being programme asked respondents to rate their satisfaction, happiness, worthwhileness and anxiety levels.
Despite the recession, fewer people in the borough described themselves as having medium or high anxiety levels compared with the national average.
But the report published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) last Tuesday reveals that 28.6 per cent of Wokingham people claim to have low or very low levels of happiness, only just below the national average.
However, the image of Wokingham as a town lacking the happy factor was countered by Stan Hetherington, town councillor and organiser of events including the Wokingham Bikeathon, Wokingham Music Club, the Winter Carnival and this year’s Jubilee Coronation proms.
He said: “I always think that contentment is a much better word than happy, but Wokingham people are very intelligent and perhaps they are having fun with the questions.
“Wokingham has a huge range of activities and 99.9 per cent of them are run by volunteers, who do it year after year. They only volunteer because it gives them pleasure and pleasure equals happiness.”
The survey revealed that, nationally, 75.9 per cent put their life satisfaction at medium or high, although this figure rose to 81.6 per cent in Wokingham.
Borough residents also beat the national average when it comes to feelings of worth – 84.7 per cent said they had a high or medium sense of worthwhileness, 4.7 per cent higher than the country as a whole.
But Wokingham’s happiness reading only just rises above the national average, with 28.6 per cent of people reporting they had low or very low levels of happiness. The national average was 28.9 per cent.
Those who did claim to have high or medium levels of happiness were measured at 71.4 per cent, just 0.3 per cent above the national reading of 71.1 per cent.
People living in West Berkshire who scored highly for satisfaction and worth were also 5.9 per cent happier than the average.