Headlines: August 3rd, 2007

WELLBEING INDICATORS REFLECT DIVIDE IN SOCIETY

 

The latest picture of the UK’s environmental, social and economic wellbeing reflects the divide in society with almost three quarters of people being fairly or very satisfied and rating their lives with a score of at least 7 out of 10. For the remainder quarter there are differences between people of different backgrounds, and a small minority are very dissatisfied with their lives.

The indicators provide a set of pointers to the state of the nation across a range of issues including health, housing, jobs, crime, education and the environment, which are all important for sustainable development. They highlight some of the challenges for lifestyles, for business and for policy makers which must be addressed to support sustainable development. They also illustrate where there is progress and where thinking needs to develop and things done differently to get improvements.

The regional indicators highlight the blackspots where there is less wellbeing and some of the underlying causes. London has the highest level of unsatisfactory environmental quality with 64%. It also has the highest fear of crime with 18% and 25% of workless households. The North East has the greatest child poverty with 28% of children living in poor households. Pensioner poverty is highest in the East Midlands with 25 %. The largest infant morality gap between different groups is in the North East where the figure for professional groups is 2.9% and for the routine groups 5.7%.

Overall, 50 measures show improvement, 11 show deterioration, and 32 show no change, when comparing the latest available data with the situation eight years ago. Compared with 1999, areas showing improvement include air pollution emissions, waste recycling, vehicle crime and burglary, housing conditions and local environmental quality. Areas showing deterioration include aviation emissions of greenhouse gases, fossil fuels used for electricity generation, differences in life expectancy between local authority areas, urban ozone pollution and childhood obesity.