A man walks with his three children
A study finds that despite economic gloom, Britons are happier and content. Reuters

A survey, ordered by Prime Minister David Cameron, has concluded that the Britons are a happy lot.

The survey shows that three quarters of the population place themselves at seven out of ten or higher on a scale of well-being.

Contrary to popular belief, divorcees and the unemployed consider themselves as happy as anyone else.

Teenagers and pensioners reported higher levels of life satisfaction, reports the Daily Mail.

The survey was carried out between April and August this year. Despite the gloomy economic developments, rising unemployment and infamous riots, there was no significant change in the responses from the people surveyed.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the study was just the first step towards measuring national well-being and would help governments come out with better policies.

The survey would be extended for a long-term project with a funding of £2 million. The ONS would be using different methods of measuring happiness, and more people would be included in the survey next year.

The ONS asked more than 4,000 respondents about their satisfaction with their life - whether they thought their life was worthwhile, how happy they were and how anxious they were on the previous day.

The average score was 7.4 out of ten when asked about satisfaction with their life.

The average score on worthwhile lives was 7.6, and for happiness 7.4.

The average score for anxiety, surprisingly, was 3.4, with zero representing no anxiety.

The Britons in the age group of 16 and 19 and those between 65 and 74 rated themselves as happier and more satisfied than those in middle age.

Among the divorcees, the average happiness score was 6.9 and the worthwhile life question drew an average answer of 7.1.

The unemployed respondents gave an average of seven on the worthwhile question and 6.8 on the happy question, again close to the scores of 7.8 and 7.5 from those with jobs.

"These are early experimental results from our opinions survey but nevertheless they give us an indication of wellbeing levels," said an ONS spokesperson.

The study has been criticised for the money spent and its findings are termed as unnecessary.

"The whole exercise is pointless. The most it will do is tell us something about the British temperament, but we all know that anyway. There is sinister element about this," feels author Jill Kirby.

"In a week when David Cameron and George Osborne cut tax credits for thousands, people will think it is ridiculous to spend £2 million on a survey into happiness," says Labour MP Michael Dugher.