Ipswich rates poorly in ‘life satisfaction’ survey

Is Ipswich really a bad place to live?

Is Ipswich really a bad place to live? - Credit: Mike Page

Just weeks after the town was named as one of the happiest places in Britain, Ipswich finds itself near the bottom of an official government league table for “life satisfaction.”

The government’s Office of National Statistics has just published its “wellbeing” index for 2015, showing the responses from 165,000 people across the country.

They were asked to summarise how they felt on four different subjects – and to rate their feelings between one and 10.

When asked: “How satisfied are you with your life generally?” The average in rating in Ipswich was 7.14 out of 10 – the fifth lowest in the UK.

The British average was 7.61, the average in East Anglia was 7.65 and the Suffolk average was 7.64.

The most satisfied areas in the UK were three rural districts in Northern Ireland along with the Outer Hebrides and the Orkneys off the northern tip of Scotland.

Other subjects were questions about how happy people felt, how anxious they were, and how worthwhile people felt their lives were – in these Ipswich appears in mid-table.

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Local MP Ben Gummer said he would take the survey with a pinch of salt – especially as it comes out just six weeks after another survey by estate agency Rightmove named Ipswich as the third happiest town in the country.

Mr Gummer added: “I’m certainly trying to do my bit to make the lives of the people of Ipswich more satisfying by working with others to improve the town centre, by keeping up the pressure to improve rail services, and by trying to ensure the Wet Dock crossing is approved.

“But I don’t think anyone should get hung up on this survey!”

Glenn Everett, ONS director of wellbeing, said: “We often talk of how the country is doing, usually in economic terms.

“Today’s figures address how people are feeling about their lives.

“Overall, people are generally rating their lives higher than they did four years ago.

“But what is interesting is that they show a slight growth in inequality between people rating their lives highly and those reporting low levels of personal well-being.”

And Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for Ipswich Christopher Hudson was not alarmed to hear of the town’s low position.

He said: “The Ancient Greeks always said you should never ask a man if he’s happy until he’s dead because you never know what’s around the next corner!”