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The State of the City’s... happiness

We’re a fairly happy bunch, but thousands are still leaving Manchester for other UK cities, reports Simon Binns

Written by . Published on August 5th 2010.

The State of the City’s... happiness

How happy are you?

According to the most recent State of the City report, which we’ve been looking at all week, personal happiness and wellbeing can affect your chances of getting a job, building optimism and resilience, improving mental health and being a better parent.

The report pointed out there were 'wide variations' across the city, however. Not surprisingly, residents of South Manchester and the city centre scored highly in the happiness stakes.

Questions about personal perceptions of happiness have been asked in Manchester’s Place Survey and in the city’s previous Quality of Life surveys. This year the Manchester Partnership commissioned a series of rolling telephone surveys asking residents questions about their lives and their neighbourhoods.

Residents have been asked how satisfied they are with their lives and, all things considered, how happy they are.

The findings? In general, Manchester residents are more likely to be satisfied with their lives as a whole and be of a happy disposition, than be dissatisfied or unhappy.

The vast majority of respondents to the residents’ survey were very (31 per cent) satisfied or fairly (59 per cent) satisfied with their life as a whole, with only five per cent dissatisfied.

The majority of respondents also described themselves as being very (35 per cent) happy or quite (55 per cent) happy, with only four per cent not being happy with their life.

Younger respondents are most likely to be satisfied and happy; around 95 per cent of those aged 18–24 compared with around 85 per cent of those aged 45–54.

People in good health were more likely to be happy and satisfied with their lives; 96 per cent of those in good health, compared with 57 per cent of those in very bad health.

How about the places we live? Overall, 75 per cent of respondents said they were satisfied with their local area. The report pointed out there were 'wide variations' across the city, however. Not surprisingly, residents of South Manchester and the city centre scored highly in the happiness stakes.

Didsbury East (92 per cent), Chorlton (92 per cent) and City Centre (90 per cent) reported the most satisfaction, while Harpurhey (53 per cent), Cheetham (60 per cent) and Gorton North (61 per cent) reported the least.

One pleasing statistic in the report is that, in the main, we all seem to get along once we’re here, irrespective of where we arrived from.

In Manchester, 89 per cent of respondents said their local area is a place where people from different backgrounds got on well together. This was highest in Didsbury West (99 per cent), Didsbury East (98 per cent) and Chorlton (98 per cent, although the last time I went to Chorlton I came out of Riley’s and a yoof lobbed a brick at my head), and lowest in Harpurhey (58 per cent), Woodhouse Park in Wythenshawe (76 per cent) and Moston (78 per cent).

Manchester is still losing people – 2,340 of them – through internal migration to and from other parts of England and Wales, but the city is gaining people (6,500) through international migration. From mid-2007 to mid-2008, 33,500 people moved to Manchester from other parts of England and Wales, including 10,130 who moved to the city from other Greater Manchester districts.

The total number of National Insurance Number (NINo) registrations made in Manchester to overseas nationals by the Department for Work and Pensions in 2008/09 was 10,530, a decrease of 6.2 per cent on 2007/2008. 21.8 per cent of registrations were from adults from the eight EU Accession States, with Poland the largest contributor, accounting for 11.2 per cent of all registrations. Indian nationals also accounted for 11.2 per cent of all registrations in 2008/2009.

So next time you see someone who doesn’t look too happy, give them a hug. Especially if they live in Didsbury.

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