Our Relationships

Domain Overview: The amount and quality of social connections with people around us are an essential part of our wellbeing.

This was highlighted in the Office for National Statistics National Debate on Measuring National Wellbeing. When people were asked what mattered most for the measurement of National Wellbeing, nearly 9 in 10 (89%) reported ‘having good connections with friends and relatives’.

The 3 measures in the Our Relationships domain are:

  • Proportion of those in fairly or extremely unhappy relationships
  • Feelings of loneliness (often/always)
  • Has a spouse or partner, family member or friend to rely on if they have a serious problem

Relationships charts Latest findings

  • Data for two of the measures in this domain are sourced from the Understanding Society Longitudinal Study.
  • In terms of the first measure, those living with or married to a partner are asked to scale their happiness in their relationship on a scale from "extremely unhappy" to "perfect".  The proportion of UK respondents indicating that they were fairly or extremely unhappy was 3.6% in 2015/16.  A comparable figure for Northern Ireland is not available as the sample size is too small for a reliable estimate, however in 2013/14 6.6% of NI respondents indicated that they were in a fairly or extremely unhappy relationship (UK, 8.3% in 2013/14).
  • In 2017/18, data from the NI Continuous Household Survey shows that 4% of respondents in Northern Ireland indicated that they feel lonely always or often. ONS reports this measure based on data from the Community Life Survey, which is based on respondents from England only and indicates that 5.4% of respondents feel lonely always or often.  As these data are sourced from different surveys, they are not directly comparable.
  • In 2013/14, 80% of respondents in Northern Ireland indicated that they had a spouse, family member or friend to rely on if they had a serious problem, lower than the UK average of 84%.

Do you want to know more? – Office for National Statistics Wellbeing.

10 National Wellbeing Domains

Personal wellbeing          Our relationships           Health           What we do

             Where we live          Personal finance          The economy

Education and skills          Governance          The natural environment

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