The BBC has just done a survey of family life in Britain, and both on the Today programme this morning (probably, I was half asleep) and on the webpage today they’ve been reporting the results as a “surprise”:

Compared with historical polling, people are more optimistic about their family’s future, more people describe their family as close and they are more likely to say their parents did their best for them. Despite all the changes, we remain remarkable happy with family life – 93% of us describing it as fairly or very happy.

I’m just puzzled as to what the surprise is supposed to be. There’s more to do at home than there once was; women have better exit options from bad marriages than ever used to be the case; parents have more control over reproduction; the food is better; more homes have decent heating; and today’s families are less likely to have been badly affected by war or childhood mortality. Why on earth shouldn’t we be happier?

One thought on “Families”

  1. Because reported happiness is subjective and I wouldn’t imagine many people think ‘well at least we don’t have bombs and rationing’. I’d expect people’s standards of what’s ‘average’ to rise and with it what they need to be happy. Though that doesn’t necessarily mean I’d expect them to be on balance less happy.

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