- Satisfaction of residents provides an aggregated picture on the well-being of the population
- Generally it appears that people in Northern Europe, including Iceland, Ireland, and some parts of the UK such as Cornwall, Wales and Scotland are more satisfied than people elsewhere in Europe
- Rather low satisfaction levels can be mainly observed mainly in Bulgaria, Portugal, Slovakia and Hungary. The same applies to regions located in EU10 Member States
Observations for policy
Satisfaction of residents provides an aggregated picture of the well-being of the population. Within Europe it can be observed a North-South division, including a division between the core and regions on the fringes of the European Union.
Linking data on European populationÔÇÖs life satisfaction to migration shows that the greater the proportion of satisfied residents, the higher is the net migration flow. Thus, regions where residents express a general dissatisfaction with life may attract fewer migrants and visitors than they might expect.
This underlines the fact that the well-being of places matters for the attraction of labour, economic activity and investments.
In recent years the demand for policy-making and society to think beyond GDP and growth has been echoed more frequently. Questions in this discussion range from ‘What could be an alternative to GDP?’ to ‘What is the actual aim of policy-making?’ or ‘What is the impact of the attractiveness of a place for economic growth?’ and ‘How to measure the attractiveness of a region?’. Well-being indicators are often discussed in this context.
One way to measure well-being is to ask ‘All things considered, how satisfied are you with life as a whole nowadays?’. This is what lies behind the residentsÔÇÖ satisfaction indicator, which provides an aggregated feedback, also to policy-makers.
European residents express different levels of satisfaction in relation to their life as a whole. Apparently a high level of satisfaction is not particular related to regions with a low net migration rate or with a mild climate.
At European level, regions in which the majority of the residents are satisfied with their life are mainly situated in Northern Europe, including Iceland, Ireland, and some parts of the UK such as Cornwall, Wales and Scotland. This situation might be explained in part by the economic welfare of these regions but social and cultural assets at the disposal of the residents also play their part.┬á In particular some of the regions with a high level of satisfaction of its residents appear to be the most creative regions in Europe, in which significant part of the labour force is occupied in the creative sector of the economy.
On the other hand, rather low satisfaction levels can be found mainly in Bulgaria, Portugal, Eastern Slovakia and Eastern Hungary. Residents from regions in the EU-10 Member States, as well as in Southern Italian and single regions in Turkey, Greece, Spain, France and Eastern Germany show rather low satisfaction levels in relation to the life of citizens.
Concepts and methods
The map illustrates the share of people who were ‘satisfied with life as a whole’ relative to the EU median score and elaborated on the basis of European Social Survey data over the period 2002-2006. The data is collected by the European Social Survey study on changing social attitudes and values within a number of European nations. The map reflects the situation prior to the economic and financial crises.