Happiness is all a matter of geography

Co-owner of The County Hotel Will Haegland encourages Selkirk townsfolk to come together to create a community spirit with his slogan 'Imagine Selkirk'.
Co-owner of The County Hotel Will Haegland encourages Selkirk townsfolk to come together to create a community spirit with his slogan 'Imagine Selkirk'.

The key to happiness for residents of the Borders could be as simple as their geography.

Figures released this week by the Office for National Statistics have linked large rural / market towns to the highest levels of “personal well-being” and life satisfaction.

The data, published as part of the ONS Measuring National Well-being Programme, revealed that “personal well-being improved in the UK between 2011/12 and 2012/13.

“Ratings for life satisfaction and feeling that the things we do in life are worthwhile increased on average, whilst anxiety levels fell.”

Analysis of the data reveals that large market towns possess all the factors leading to the highest levels of well-being and happiness.

National charity Action for Market Towns (AMT) attributes the relative happiness of the border region to the strong community links and rural landscape.

Chris Wade, chief executive of AMT Towns Alive, commented: “Market towns’ community spirit has been born out of doing things for themselves and decades of self reliance. Many have faced the challenging economic climate with community-led ideas that involve and engage their residents, helping them to thrive, and to be great places to live and to work.

When it came to ‘Life Satisfaction’, Borders’ responses placed it in the top band of polled areas, with people rating their satisfaction at 7.8 on the same scale. And when asked: “Overall, how worthwhile are the things that you do in your life?”, Borderers were more likely to feel their life was “worthwhile” than other areas surveyed.