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Well-being of Wales

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  • Release date: 25 September 2017
  • Period covered: 2016-17
  • Next update: September 2018
A report presenting the progress we are making as a nation against the 7 well-being goals.

This report provides an update on progress being made in Wales towards the achievement of the 7 well-being goals by reference to the 46 national indicators for Wales and additional contextual information where appropriate.

The 7 well-being goals have been put in place to improve the social, economic, environmental, and cultural well-being of Wales. They were agreed by the National Assembly for Wales in 2015 and 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 report can also be used to consider Wales’ contribution towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals which seek to address urgent global challenges.

The report was first launched in September 2017. We will be looking to develop the report functionality and content in future and as we develop more information on trends from the National Survey, will be able to report more on trends and progress towards the goals. The report also does not seek to provide exhaustive analysis of the indicators as many of the indicators are analysed in detailed through our routine statistical publications found elsewhere on this site.

The report shows:

  • Life expectancy has been broadly increasing and the amount of time spent in good health has been on the up. However inequalities remain across different groups. 
  • Smoking and drinking are falling, but overall one in ten people follow fewer than two good healthy lifestyle behaviours. Obesity in adults has risen over the long term.
  • In terms of a healthy start to life there has been good progress in areas such as breastfeeding and dental health, but obesity in children remains a challenge.
  • People are more likely than ever to be in work in Wales, although historical economic challenges remain. Whilst having a job reduces the chances of being poor, in-work poverty is increasing as more people enter work. Two-thirds of workers are considered to be in “decent work”.
  • As in the rest of the UK, there has been little improvement in people’s incomes, although the gender pay gap has reduced and educational attainment is increasing.
  • Relative income poverty has remained stubborn and is highest amongst children, although a lower percentage of the population report themselves to be in material deprivation. Socio-economic disadvantage remains a key inequality for some outcomes such as educational attainment and life expectancy. 
  • Inequalities persist in different indicators and across different population groups. For example, black and ethnic minorities are less likely to say that they feel they belong to the local area, and women feel less safe in their communities than men. 
  • People’s sense of community and belonging depends on a range of factors. In general most people are satisfied with where they live, although one in five people feel lonely. 
  • Many adults attend and participate in culture and sports and trends are generally upwards in recent years. However participation varies according to age and background. 
  • One in five people speak Welsh and in recent years, data suggest that there is an increase in those speaking Welsh but not fluently whilst use of the language has remained steady. 
  • Water quality and air quality in Wales continues to improve and greenhouse gas emissions have fallen. However air pollution continues to be a significant health issue. 
  • Renewable energy generation has been on the rise. But our ecological footprint suggests that our key natural resources are being depleted faster than they can be replenished.
  • Overall, biological diversity is declining, and no ecosystems in Wales can be said to have all the features needed for resilience.

Structure of the report

7 well-being goals

The 'View Data' tab includes:

  • a progress report against each of the 7 well-being goals illustrated in figure 1 using data relating to relative national indicators and additional contextual information where appropriate
  • a description and chart of recent trends against each of the 46 national indicators for Wales, providing links to the data sources.
More information about the well-being goals and the national indicators can be found on the 'Background' tab.

The report includes some analysis of the national indicators according to socio-economic background, age or other equality groups. However, it is possible to analyse the indicators in even greater detail. Therefore the 46 national indicator reports also provide links to more detailed reporting of those indicators through Statistical Releases or Bulletins produced either by Welsh Government or other departments.

We have also produced an interactive application to explore each of the 7 well-being goals and the indicators which tell us story about progress. You can also use this to explore each of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, and find which of our national indicators for Wales tells a story about progress against the SDGs.


Many of the indicators are available for children (for example, healthy lifestyles; Welsh Language; poverty; mental well-being) and these have been reported against separately in the report where possible. However the National Survey for Wales, source of many of the indicators for adults on subjective well-being (such as loneliness, volunteering or feeling safe) does not cover children aged under 16. We are currently developing new measures of well-being for children that will help us understand the matters of subjective well-being reported on here for adults. See 'Background' tab for more detail.


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


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