Measuring progress: GDP and beyond

11 Aug 2022 03:42 PM

Quality of life and climate change data to supplement traditional economic statistics.

Today marks another step forward for the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in its programme to inform understanding of economic, environmental and social progress more broadly than can be captured in traditional measures of the size of the UK economy in Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Alongside key economic statistics including the latest monthly and quarterly estimates of GDP, the ONS will begin publishing Quality of life in the UK, a statistical bulletin covering ten dimensions of national well-being – personal wellbeing, relationships, health, what we do, where we live, personal finance, economy, education and skills, governance, and environment. This marks the first update to the Measures of National Well-being dashboard since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and captures how some of these indicators have since changed.

We will also publish Climate change insights, UK, bringing together the latest climate change-related statistics and analysis from a range of sources. Together, these releases will offer a wider picture of how the UK’s economy, society and environment are changing in order to provide better understanding of progress.

National Statistician Sir Ian Diamond yesterday said:

"Our GDP statistics do a fantastic job in measuring how the size of the UK economy is changing during a given period of time. But, as we have seen over the course of the pandemic, there is a growing need to develop wider measures, showing changes to our society and natural environment.

"We need to unpack all this and more to truly capture and accurately reflect the living standards of our citizens. Friday's relaunch of the well-being dashboard marks an important milestone in that progress.

"The environmental dimension also belongs firmly at the centre of this agenda. Economic growth remains a key issue, but it is important that this be complemented with other data to understand the full impact of economic growth on our society and environment, striving to provide measures that are meaningful and take into consideration the full effects of societal progress.

"This new quarterly package – bringing climate change and wellbeing insights alongside estimates of GDP – is an important step in our ongoing mission to provide a more holistic understanding of the UK economy, society and the environment."