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Well-being of Wales

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  • Release date: 20 September 2018
  • Period covered: 2017-18
A report presenting the progress we are making as a nation against the 7 well-being goals by reference to the 46 national indicators.

This report provides our first update to the Well-being of Wales report. It includes the latest data and, where appropriate, reports on progress over the last year.

7 well-being goals

The 7 well-being goals have been put in place to improve the social, economic, environmental, and cultural well-being of Wales.  They are contained in law under the Well being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.

This report assesses progress against those shared national goals for Wales as a whole. It is not a report about the performance of any organisation, but the collective changes we are seeing in Wales.

The progress reports against each of the 7 goals and data for each of the national indicators can be found on the 'View Data' tab. More information about the well-being goals and the national indicators can be found on the 'Background' tab.

This year’s report includes additional analysis on children’s well-being and we have summarised those key findings in slides and drawn out the relevant sections of the report in a separate document 'Well-being of Wales 2017-18: What do we know about children’s well-being?'.

Key points

  • Life expectancy has been increasing over the long term but in recent years those increases have shown signs of slowing and even stopped. The amount of time spent in good health has been on the up but inequalities remain across different groups.
  • Overall one in ten people follow fewer than two healthy lifestyle behaviours, and there was little change in any of the five main healthy lifestyle behaviours in the latest year. 
  • There has been good progress over the medium term in areas such as breastfeeding and dental health, but obesity in children remains a challenge, and increased in the last year.
  • In the last year overall labour market performance in Wales has continued to be strong, with gaps in employment and inactivity rates between Wales and the UK remaining low in historical terms. In common with the wider UK economy, wages growth has remained weak in comparison with the longer term trend.
  • The gender pay gap has continued to narrow and is now the lowest level on record in Wales. But our indicator shows women are less likely than men to be in good quality employment. There remains a significant gap in employment outcomes for disabled people.
  • Educational attainment continues to increase and more young people are in education, employment or training. Socio-economic disadvantage remains a key inequality for some outcomes such as educational attainment.
  • Relative income poverty has remained steady for over a decade, and is highest amongst children. There are fewer people estimated to be in material deprivation than in relative income poverty.
  • Indicators on community cohesion are fairly new, and therefore little change is evident yet. People’s sense of community and belonging depends on a range of factors, although all of the indicators are associated with socio-economic status or deprivation. In general, most people are satisfied with where they live, although almost one in five people feel lonely.
  • Although increasing, Black and Ethnic minority people are still under-represented in political life. Race is still judged to be a motivating factor in nearly three quarters of all hate crime and recorded race incidents have been increasing.
  • Many adults attend and participate in culture and sports but this varies by age and background. Although there has been a change in data source the trends for both have been upwards.
  • One in five people report they can speak Welsh and this has been stable in recent years, although there is an increase in those “speaking a few words”. Use of the language has remained steady.  
  • Whilst there is a long term trend of reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, the latest data shows an increase in emissions in 2016 compared with 2015. Air pollution continues to be a significant health issue.
  • Renewable energy generation has been on the rise including in the latest year. But our ecological footprint suggests that our key natural resources are being depleted faster than they can be replenished.
  • Whilst the latest evidence shows some positive trends in relation to the Welsh environment, the latest comprehensive assessment of the Welsh natural resources shows that overall, biological diversity is declining, and no ecosystems in Wales can be said to have all the features needed for resilience.

National indicators

The 'View Data' tab includes reports containing a description and chart of recent trends for each of the 46 national indicators. The reports provide links to the data sources and, where available, statistical publications where the indicators are analysed in more detail.

Mapping indicators to goals

Many national indicators will help tell a story of progress in Wales against more than one of the Well-being Goals, or United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We have produced an interactive application mapping indicators to those goals.


The data that have been used to measure the national indicators are mostly available on StatsWales. Breakdowns are by geographical area or population group where this has been possible.


We want to ensure that our approach to reporting against well being goals is as effective as possible and will be considering lessons learnt from this second year of reporting over the next few months. Over the past year we undertook a user survey on the first report, but welcome feedback at any time on the content or usability of the report. If you have thoughts, there is contact information below.


Tel: 0300 025 6691

Tel: 0300 025 8099

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