November 21, 2023

Lower wellbeing in deprived Welsh communities revealed in new report

by Carnegie UK

A wellbeing divide between different groups of people in Wales has been identified in new research from Carnegie UK and Ipsos.  

Disabled people in Wales, people living in the most deprived areas, those living in social housing or private rented accommodation, and younger people have lower levels of wellbeing according to the study.   

Carnegie’s new Life in the UK Index measures the wellbeing of the people of the UK by examining answers to questions across social, environmental, economic, and democratic themes. People in Wales living in the most deprived areas have lower wellbeing across each theme. 

In a new report, the charitable foundation recognises the importance of legislation passed by the Welsh Government to drive improvements in the wellbeing of future and current generations.

However, Carnegie UK urges Welsh decision-makers to strengthen the implementation of their approach, noting a likely impact of rising living costs on the wellbeing of deprived communities. Their research also points out that a larger proportion of people in Wales (32%) are dissatisfied with job opportunities available locally, when compared to the UK average (23%).

The foundation’s research has been published a week after the launch of a new strategy for the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales. 

The research is based on a survey of 6941 people from across the UK, including 531 from Wales. 

Sarah Davidson, chief executive of Carnegie UK, said: “Our research shows a big divide between the wellbeing of many individuals and communities in Wales.  

“We see deprivation having a negative impact on all aspects of wellbeing: social, economic, environmental, and democratic. For example, our research shows that people living in deprived places have less access to green spaces like parks and feel less safe in their neighbourhood after dark. Further, the statistics reveal people from deprived communities believe they have relatively less influence over decisions that affect them.  

“While many of the patterns we’ve observed are unsurprising and like those observed elsewhere in the UK, they should still weigh on the conscience of Welsh decision-makers. That’s why we’re urging the Welsh Government to use the tools at their disposal to drive down relative poverty, work to deliver high quality jobs, and tackle poorer rates of general health when compared to England.”  

In a similar pattern to the rest of the UK, the research reveals a lack of trust in political systems and institutions. Three quarter (75%) of respondents in Wales feel that they do not have influence over decisions affecting the UK; two thirds (67%) feel the same about Wales-wide decisions; while over half (56%) feel they do not have influence over decisions affecting their local area.  

Sarah Davidson said: “Our research shows that all spheres of government and the public sector need to work harder to engage local people in their decision-making.

“The extremely low levels of trust we see in our politics and our institutions drag down overall levels of wellbeing both in Wales and across the UK. This is alarming not only because trust is key to our democracy, but without engagement from the public our public policy is bound to be less effective.”



Notes to editors 

  • The Life in the UK Index has been devised to track the wellbeing of the UK’s people over time. The Index consists of an overall collective wellbeing score, calculated from a score for each of four themes: social, environmental, economic and democratic wellbeing. The score for each is based on several different survey questions relevant to that wellbeing theme.
  • The Life in the UK Index is based upon a 26-question online survey of a representative UK sample of 6941 adults (531 from Wales) aged 16+ between 18-24 May 2023. The data was collected using the Ipsos UK KnowledgePanel, an online random probability panel which provides gold standard insights into the UK population, by providing bigger sample sizes via the most rigorous research methods.
  • Data are weighted by gender, age, region, education, ethnicity, Index of Multiple Deprivation quintile, number of adults in the household, to reflect the profile of the UK population. The results to individual survey questions can be found in data tables found here.
  • The collective wellbeing score for Wales is 62 out of a possible 100. The UK score is also 62 out of a possible 100.
  • A table breaking down the wellbeing scores across demographics and domains (or themes) can be found below: 
  Collective wellbeing  Social wellbeing  Economic wellbeing  Environmental wellbeing  Democratic wellbeing 
Wales sample   62  74  69  66  39 
Disability  Disabled people  57  65  62  65  37 
Non-disabled people  64  78  72  67  39 
Age  16 to 34   58  68  64  61  39 
35 to 54   61  75  66  64  37 
55 and over  65  77  74  71  40 
Area deprivation  1st quintile (highest deprivation)  55  67  60  57  36 
2nd quintile  61  73  65  66  38 
3rd quintile  63  76  68  68  39 
4th quintile  64  76  73  69  39 
5th quintile (lowest deprivation)  68  80  78  72  41 
Housing tenure  Social rented  51  60  49  60  35 
Private rented  52  63  53  54  36 
Home owners  65  77  73  68  39 


  • The Life in the UK score for democratic wellbeing is substantially lower than all other wellbeing domain scores and brings down the overall collective wellbeing score for the UK and Wales considerably.  
  • Carnegie UK and Ipsos designed, developed and analysed the Index in partnership. The recommendations outlined in the Life in the UK Index report are Carnegie UK’s alone.
  • Carnegie UK’s purpose is better wellbeing for people in the UK and Ireland. We are a charitable foundation set up over 100 years ago, based in Dunfermline and established with an endowment from Andrew Carnegie.


Stuart Mackinnon: [email protected]