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Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the National Survey has taken place over the phone instead of face-to-face as previously. From July 2021 to January 2022, we trialled a follow-up online section. A sub-sample of approximately 2,000 respondents completed an additional set of questions, after completing the telephone section. Where people were unable or unwilling to answer online, they completed the extra section with an interviewer over the phone.
Some results from previous years are included to provide context. However, due to the difference in mode and possible real change due to the pandemic, care should be taken when making direct comparisons.
Local services and facilities
People were asked what services and facilities were available in their local area (Chart 1). The most common services reported are public transport links (88% said they have these), shops (88%), and pubs/restaurants (85%). 3% said they have no services or facilities in their local area, a similar result to when this question was last asked in 2018-19.
People living in rural areas are less likely to report having access to all these services. For example, 76% of people in rural areas say they have public transport links compared with 94% of people in urban areas. 7% of people living in rural areas say they have none of these facilities or services.
The proportion of people with access to most services remains unchanged since this question was last asked in 2018-19, except for cinemas (which decreased from 22% in 2018-19 to 17% in 2021) and youth clubs (down from 26% to 18%). These decreases may be explained by permanent closures over the course of the pandemic.
Climate change: environmental behaviour
People were asked about six types of environmental behaviour and whether they do these things as part of their everyday life (Chart 2). They were then asked why they did these things.
26% of people who were undertaking at least one of these six environmental behaviours gave climate change as the main reason for doing so. People with qualifications at degree level or above (36%) were more likely to cite climate change as the reason for the behaviour than those who have no qualifications (13%).
‘To limit the effects of climate change’ was not the most commonly given reason for doing any of these activities. However, it was a reason given by a substantial proportion of people who: reduce flying, minimise energy usage at home, or eat less meat. 29% of people who reduce air travel said that limiting the effects of climate change was their main reason for doing so. 25% of those who minimise energy consumption and 22% who eat less meat also gave climate change as the primary reason for doing so. It’s worth noting that 62% of people who say they have cut down home energy use did so because of cost. (These questions were asked prior to the recent energy price rises).
Repair and re-use
92% of people have either sold or given away items in the previous 12 months. Women (94%) are more likely to do this than men (89%). Most methods of selling or giving away items show an increase since the questions were last asked in 2018-19, except for car boot sales (decrease from 7% to 5%).
67% of people have either received or bought second-hand items in the last 12 months, this is an increase from 57% in 2018-19. Of this group, people aged under 45 are more likely to source items from websites such as eBay or from family and friends than are people in older age groups. People aged 65 and over are the group most likely to source second-hand items from charity shops. (Table 1)
|Source of second-hand items||16 to 44||45 to 64||65+|
|From charity shops||49%||62%||75%|
|From a car boot sale||7%||9%||8%|
|Bought through websites such as eBay||70%||59%||24%|
|Through organisations like Freecycle||5%||8%||4%|
|From friends / family / neighbours||54%||49%||36%|
Note: Table only represents people who have received second-hand items. They may have obtained more than one item and from more than one source, so totals exceed 100%.
Source: National Survey for Wales 2021-22 online trial
40% of people have repaired a household item during the past year, and 43% of people have repaired or altered clothing over the same period. Of those that have repaired household items, 59% say they are also trying to reduce the number of brand-new items they purchase. There was a similar pattern for clothing alterations, where 62% of people who have repaired or altered clothing are also trying to buy fewer new items.
The proportion of people who volunteer increased to 29%, from 26% in 2019-20. The online survey results show that 32% of men volunteer, compared with 25% of women, this differs from 2019-20, when there was no difference in volunteering rates between men and women. Again, any comparisons should be considered in the light of the pandemic, and the change in mode to online completion.
People who feel a strong sense of community within their local area are more likely to report they volunteer (32%) than people who don’t feel that sense of community (with 23% volunteering).
31% of people who report their general health as good or very good volunteer, compared with 13% who report having bad or very bad health. The relationship between general health and volunteering is complex: for example, poor health may be an obstacle to being able to volunteer, whilst volunteering may also benefit the health of the people who do so.
People were asked about their mental wellbeing. The results are scored using the Warwick Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (WEMWBS), a scale of 14 self-assessed questions with scores ranging from 14 to 70. A higher score (58 to 70) suggests high mental wellbeing, while scoring 44 or lower suggests having a low mental wellbeing. Scoring between 45 and 57 suggests the person has medium mental wellbeing.
The overall the WEMWBS score is 49. This is lower than in 2018-19, when the average score was 51. This decrease may be explained by the effects of the pandemic but the change in mode should also be considered when comparing the results. 30% of people have low wellbeing, 54% have medium wellbeing, and 16% have high wellbeing.
On average younger people have lower scores: those aged 25 to 44 have a score of 47, compared with a score of 52 for those aged over 75. People who describe their general health as bad or very bad score 39, a lower score than for people with better general health. These interactions with age and health show the same trend as in 2018-19, but with lower average scores in all categories (Chart 4).
People who say they are lonely also have lower mental wellbeing on average (39) than those who are sometimes lonely (53) or never lonely (49).
Physical punishment of children
Parents and non-parents were asked about their views on smacking children and whether they agreed or disagreed that it was sometimes necessary (Chart 5).
There has been a shift in attitudes since this question was asked in 2019-20. In 2019-20 35% of people said it was sometimes necessary to smack a child compared with 25% now. The proportion who strongly disagree that smacking is sometimes necessary has risen to 40% (from 30% in 2019-20).
32% of men and 20% of women say that it is sometimes necessary to smack a child. 84% of people aged 16 to 24 say that smacking is never necessary compared with 42% of people aged 75 and over.
Parents and non-parents who think it may sometimes be necessary to smack a child were asked under what conditions they might consider it to be appropriate for a parent to smack a child (Chart 6).
29% of people who now think it is never necessary to smack a child say they have changed their view over the years and previously did think it may be appropriate in some situations.
People aged 18+ were asked whether or not they gambled and, if so, what types of activity they spent money on. Lotteries and scratch cards are the most common type of gambling reported: 56% of people say they had bought these in the last 12 months; figures did not vary by sex. However, more men (14%) than women (5%) say they place bets online or play games online for money.
People who report high mental wellbeing are less likely to report that they gamble than those with medium or low mental wellbeing. 52% of people with a high WEMWBS score say they gamble compared with 64% of those with a low or medium score. 59% of people with religious beliefs reported taking part in some form of gambling compared with 64% of people with no stated religion.
People who took part in gambling activities were also asked how often they gambled (Chart 7). 64% of people who gamble say they do so more frequently than once a month. Men are more likely than women to say they gamble at least once a week.
95% of people say they never bet more than they can afford to lose, and the same proportion say they never go back to try and win back the money they’ve lost. 99% of people say they don’t feel that: they have a problem with gambling; that gambling causes any health problems; or that gambling causes financial problems.
The National Survey, for the first time, asked people about what activities they had done to help with international issues such as poverty, human rights, war, refugees, or climate change (these questions were asked prior to the war in Ukraine).
31% of people say they have donated money in the preceding three months to help with global issues. The most common issues people donate money for are international poverty (21%) and to support refugees (15%). 36% of women say they give money, compared with 26% of men.
17% of people say they have campaigned for international issues in last 12 months to help with global issues and 5% say they have volunteered. 11% of people campaign for human rights issues and 10% against climate change, while 2% volunteer to stop poverty and 2% to help refugees.
54% say they have changed what they buy because of global issues. People aged under 75 are more likely to have changed what they buy (57%) than those aged 75 and over (34%). Those aged 25 to 44 were the group most likely to have made changes to what they buy (63%).
Quality and methodology information
The National Survey for Wales is a continuous, large-scale, random sample telephone survey covering people across Wales. Addresses are randomly selected, and invitations sent by post, requesting that a phone number be provided for the address. The phone number can be provided via an online portal, a telephone enquiry line, or direct to the mobile number of the interviewer for that case. If no phone number is provided, an interviewer may call at the address and ask for a phone number.
Although the telephone approach has been successful, several modules were not possible to ask by phone as they were not ideally suited to this mode of collection. For example, some sensitive questions are better answered privately (this also reduces social desirability bias) while other questions are excluded because they were too lengthy to read over the phone.
The online trial ran from July 2021 to January 2022 and was a random sample of people who had completed the telephone survey, stratified by local authority. 1,965 online interviews were achieved: 89% of all people asked to complete the online section. (20% of these completed the online section over the phone with an interviewer.)
National Statistics status
The United Kingdom Statistics Authority has designated these statistics as National Statistics, in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Statistics.
National Statistics status means that official statistics meet the highest standards of trustworthiness, quality, and public value.
All official statistics should comply with all aspects of the Code of Practice for Statistics. They are awarded National Statistics status following an assessment by the UK Statistics Authority’s regulatory arm. The Authority considers whether the statistics meet the highest standards of Code compliance, including the value they add to public decisions and debate.
It is Welsh Government’s responsibility to maintain compliance with the standards expected of National Statistics. If we become concerned about whether these statistics are still meeting the appropriate standards, we will discuss any concerns with the Authority promptly. National Statistics status can be removed at any point when the highest standards are not maintained and reinstated when standards are restored.
The continued designation of these statistics as National Statistics was confirmed in June 2020 following a compliance check by the Office for Statistics Regulation (letter of confirmation). These statistics last underwent a full assessment (full report) against the Code of Practice in 2013.
Since the latest review by the Office for Statistics Regulation, we have continued to comply with the Code of Practice for Statistics, by for example:
- providing more detailed breakdowns in the results viewer
- updated the survey topics regularly to ensure we continue to meet changing policy need
- continued to carry out regression analysis as a standard part of our outputs, to help users understand the contribution of particular factors to outcomes of interest
Well-being of Future Generations Act (WFG)
The Well-being of Future Generations Act 2015 is about improving the social, economic, environmental and cultural wellbeing of Wales. The Act puts in place seven wellbeing goals for Wales. These are for a more equal, prosperous, resilient, healthier and globally responsible Wales, with cohesive communities and a vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language. Under section (10)(1) of the Act, the Welsh Ministers must (a) publish indicators (“national indicators”) that must be applied for the purpose of measuring progress towards the achievement of the wellbeing goals, and (b) lay a copy of the national indicators before Senedd Cymru. Under section 10(8) of the Well-being of Future Generations Act, where the Welsh Ministers revise the national indicators, they must as soon as reasonably practicable (a) publish the indicators as revised and (b) lay a copy of them before the Senedd. These national indicators were laid before the Senedd in 2021. The indicators laid on 14 December 2021 replace the set laid on 16 March 2016.
The National Survey collects information for 15 of the indicators.
Further information on the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.
The statistics included in this release could also provide supporting narrative to the national indicators and be used by public service boards in relation to their local wellbeing assessments and local wellbeing plans.