London is well known as a magnate for people moving to live and work in the UK, but people there are more anxious and have lower average ratings of life satisfaction than other parts of the country.

The latest set of statistics released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows that in the 12 months to March 2016 overall in the UK there has been no improvement in ratings of happiness, anxiety and feeling that things in life are worthwhile.

The ONS report suggests that uncertainties surrounding governance, the economy and global security could have affected people’s outlook and in the period covered by the survey there was a general election and the build up to the referendum on the future of the country in the European Union, both of which create uncertainty.

But personal well-being has improved across each of the measures over the five-year period between the years ending March 2012 and 2016 with women reporting higher life satisfaction and worthwhile levels when compared to men, but they also reported higher levels of anxiety.

People living in London reported lower average ratings of life satisfaction, anxiety and feeling things in life are worthwhile compared with the country overall and people in Northern Ireland continue to give higher average ratings of personal well-being for all measures except anxiety, when compared with the rest of the UK.

Northern Ireland also had the largest absolute increase in average ratings of life satisfaction in the UK between the financial years ending 2012 and 2016. Conversely, those living in Northern Ireland, the East Midlands, the East and the South West of England reported higher average ratings than the UK overall.

There is no difference in the average personal well-being ratings between those living in England, Wales and Scotland in financial year ending 2016, nor between any of the countries for ratings of anxiety.

‘Life satisfaction has increased over the past year, which is what one might expect given the improvements seen in the economy and record high employment during that period,’ said Abbie Self, director of well-being, inequalities, sustainability and environment at the ONS.

‘However, what is more surprising is that there is no change over the same time in people’s happiness, anxiety and feeling that what they do in life is worthwhile. This is the first time we haven’t seen year on year improvements in these particular measures since we began collecting the data in 2011,’ she added.

In the survey people were asked how satisfied they are with their life, how worthwhile they felt the things they do in their life are, how happy they felt and how anxious they felt. They were asked to respond on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is ‘not at all’ and 10 is ‘completely.

Reported personal well-being had improved every year since the financial year ending 2012, when data were first collected, however, the financial year ending 2016 sees the first instance where there has not been an annual improvement across all of the measures.

Average ratings of feeling that things done in life are worthwhile, happiness and anxiety in the UK have not improved when comparing the financial years ending 2015 and 2016, but all have increased since the financial year ending 2012.

The data also shows that life satisfaction is the only measure of personal well-being which has increased in the UK when comparing the financial years ending 2015 and 2016.

The survey found that things which have got better include real household disposable income and individuals’ perceptions of their financial situation, all of which improved and the employment rate for those aged 16 to 64 in the three months to March 2016, was at its highest levels since comparable records began in 1971.

But fewer people were satisfied with their health in the year ending March 2014 compared with a year earlier and since the year ending March 2011 fewer households in England reported they were very or fairly satisfied with their accommodation in the year ending March 2014 compared with a year earlier and since the year ending March 2011.