COVID-19 has brought into sharp focus the importance of societal wellbeing. The pandemic has laid bare the inequalities that persist for many living in the UK, and the interplay of various factors that all collectively impact how we live our lives together as a society. From the quality of our relationships to our health, to the places we call home and our income – the contribution of each to wellbeing cannot be understood in isolation. What is more, the narrow parameters of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) do not – and cannot – tell an accurate story of whether life is improving, where the gaps are, and who is being left behind.
Gross Domestic Wellbeing (GDWe)™ offers a holistic alternative to GDP as a measure of social progress. Using the framework and data in the Office for National Statistics Measures of National Wellbeing Dashboard, the Trust has developed – for the first time – a tool that provides a single figure for GDWe in England.
Our analysis found that GDWe in England was in decline before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Urgent action is therefore needed to refocus decision-making on wellbeing.