Tracking of the nation's mood and well-being by the UK's Office for National Statistics indicated a noticeable fall in happiness (and rise in anxiety) during the pandemic. Happiness though, at least up to the end of Q2 this year, seems to have been making a comeback.
As Statista's Martin Armstrong shows in the infographic below, although we're talking about small changes overall, the relative change in 2021 has been a clearly positive one. After slumping down to a mean of 7.24 out of 10, happiness levels have since rebounded to the heights of pre-pandemic times. Whether things are actually getting better or if this is simply a sign of humans adjusting to the "new normal" remain up for debate, but the trend is there to be seen.
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This improvement is by no means universal though. As reported by the ONS:
"By Quarter 2 2021, when on average the UK was experiencing pre-coronavirus pandemic levels of well-being, anxiety in 20- to 24-year-old respondents was significantly higher than the national average (score of 3.56 compared to 3.04 out of 10, respectively).
Offering an explanation for this, the ONS posits:
"Previous analysis has linked anxiety with loneliness, and young people were more likely to experience “lockdown loneliness” during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic."
Over the period covered by Quarter 4 2020 and Quarter 1 2021, higher rates of loneliness were reported in areas with a high population of young people and those who were unemployed. Employment rates of young people have been the most affected by the coronavirus pandemic, with levels seen in Quarter 2 2021 (51.7%) still below those recorded a year earlier or before the coronavirus pandemic.