Happy UK
The ONS said the anxiety rate across the UK dropped to 3.03 for the 2012/13 period (Reuters)

Personal wellbeing has risen in the UK over the last year as the prosperous south records some of the highest life satisfaction levels among the English regions.

According to the Office for National Statistics' Personal Wellbeing survey, ratings for life satisfaction and feelings that the things we do in life are worthwhile, increased on average between 2011/12 and 2012/13.

The research revealed that the life-satisfaction rate across the UK jumped to 7.45 for the 2012/13 period, up from 7.41 the year before.

In addition, the anxiety rate across the UK dropped to 3.03 for the 2012/13 period, down from 3.14 the year before.

Northern Ireland came out top on of the UK countries (Fig 1), with the highest average ratings for life satisfaction (7.54), worthwhile (7.77) and happiness (7.4) in 2012/13.

The study found that a greater proportion of people in Northern Ireland rated their life satisfaction, worthwhile and happiness as high as (9 or 10 out of 10), higher than in any other country.

Fig 1 (ONS chart: Percentages of high personal wellbeing, by country, 2012/13) ONS

In England, the southwest and southeast regions had some of the highest levels of life satisfaction (7.52 and 7.5, respectively) and worthwhile (7.77 and 7.75) ratings in 2012/13.

The southwest also had proportionately more people than any other region rating life satisfaction, worthwhile and happiness as 9 or 10 out of 10.

But London had the lowest average rating for life satisfaction (7.25) and the highest rating for anxiety (2.87) out of all of the English regions.

The ONS stressed that the relationship between personal wellbeing and local circumstances is complex and the reasons why different areas of the UK have different levels of personal wellbeing is "not yet fully understood".

The research body has pledged to publish further analysis into regional variations in personal wellbeing later this year.