Life satisfaction higher among married people
Married people are more likely to be satisfied with their lives, new figures show.
A higher proportion of married Britons report a "very high rating" of life satisfaction compared to others, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found.
More than a third (34.7%) of people who are married or in a civil partnership rate their life satisfaction as either 9 out of 10 or 10 out of 10, according to data from the ONS's measure of national wellbeing in the UK in 2016.
This compares to 28.9% of those who were widowed or those who lived with their partner.
People who were separated or divorced are the least satisfied, with only 19.5% rating their life satisfaction as very high.
Single people were slightly more likely to be "very" satisfied with their lives, with 21.9% reporting this level of satisfaction.
At the other end of the scale, just 2.8% of married people had "low" life satisfaction compared to one in 10 divorcees.
The new ONS figures also show that the proportion of people with someone to rely on fell between 2011 and 2014.
"There is a saying, 'a problem shared is a problem halved' - so having someone to turn to for company and support in times of need is essential for a person's wellbeing," the ONS report states.
Researchers found that 84.1% of people aged 16 and over in the UK had a spouse or partner, family member or friend to rely on if they had a serious problem in 2014 - a fall from three years earlier when 86.4% reported they had this level of support.
Overall the ONS found that "national wellbeing has improved" across a large number of measures including rates of unemployment and crime as well as improvements in healthy life expectancy and household income. But satisfaction has fallen across other areas including health, income and leisure time.
"In many parts of our society life in the UK is improving but we don't necessarily feel that they are," said ONS director of wellbeing Glenn Everett.
"While healthy life expectancy, household income, and crime rates are improving, we have seen people reporting that they are less satisfied with some aspects of their life such as our health, income and leisure time."
Other key findings from the report include:
:: The proportion of people finding it difficult to cope financially fell from 11.6% to 9.1% between 2011 and 2014. Meanwhile, net national disposable income per head increased in the UK from £22,487 in 2011 to £22,786 in 2014.
:: In the same period greenhouse gas emissions in the UK fell from 553.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent to 514.4 million.
:: The number of crimes against the person fell from 82 per 1000 adults in 2012 to 57 per 1000 adults in 2015.
:: Satisfaction with health fell from 66.3% in 2011 to 57.8% in 2014.
Chris Sherwood, chief executive of the relationship charity Relate, said: "We know that good quality relationships are good for our wellbeing so it is not surprising that so many people who are married or in a civil partnership are reporting high levels of life satisfaction.
"However, it is important to remember that it is relationship quality that matters most and overall people who are in unhappy marriages tend to have worse levels of wellbeing than those who are single. There is clearly a strong link between relationship quality and life satisfaction.
"This is why we are calling for local health and wellbeing boards to recognise and reflect the importance of relationships for our physical and mental wellbeing in their plans."