How happy are children in the UK?

The Children's Society Good Childhood Report finds that young people are becoming less happy over time. 

The Children's Society has published their 2019 Good Childhood Report, an annual review of young people's wellbeing and happiness. This year the report has found that since 2009 young people have become increasing unhappy, with factors such as friends, school and appearance impacting on how happy children feel. The Children's Society use data from Understanding Society to measure the subjective wellbeing of children over time. Young people who take part in Understanding Society are asked to rate their happiness with different aspects of their life, including their friends, family, appearance, school, schoolwork and life overall and The Children's Society use this information for the Good Childhood Report.  

The 2019 findings show that whilst children's happiness levels with their family have remained roughly the same since 2009, there's been a drop in happiness with friends and with school. Happiness with life overall has also dropped. 

The report also found that although boys remain consistently happier with their appearance than girls, the gap has narrowed and boys happiness with their appearance is lower in 2016-17 than in 2009-10. 

Key findings: 

  • An estimated quarter of a million 10-15 year olds in the UK may be unhappy with their lives
  • Boys are becoming less happy with their appearance
  • Happiness with friendships is in decline
  • Any experience of financial strain or poverty in childhood is linked to lower wellbeing at age 14

You can find more information about the questions that young people answer in Understanding Society here

Read the full report here