Equitable and sustainable well-being

11 May 2023

ISTAT presented, the BES 2022 report on 20 April 2023, which provides, as every year, an analysis of the different dimensions of wellness in Italy. BES (equitable and sustainable well-being) is a set of indicators developed by ISTAT and CNEL in order to assess the progress of a society in economic, social and environmental terms. The 2022 edition presents a comparison with the pre-pandemic period, focusing on wellness evolution and its inequalities.

It is important to consider BES in addition to GDP to assess the well-being of a country: the parameters on which the progress of a society can be assessed cannot be exclusively economic, but must also take into account fundamental social and environmental dimensions along with measures of inequality and sustainability.

The indicators showed a positive trend in the years prior to the pandemic, with the only exception of the percentage of those who rated their life satisfaction between 8 and 10; this proportion in 2012, as the social and economic effects of the great crisis worsened, dropped by 10 points, not yet fully recovered in 2019.

Between 2019, pre-Covid benchmark year, and 2021, life satisfaction and indicators on future prospects remained at pre-pandemic levels, or even improved.

The highest percentage to date of people who consider themselves very satisfied with their lives and the lowest value for people who rate their lives as insufficient is reached in 2022. Almost 9 out of 10 people say they are very (score between 8 and 10) or sufficiently (score 6 or 7) satisfied.

Leisure satisfaction, which declined in 2021 due to continued restrictive measures to contain the negative effects of the pandemic, sees a recovery in 2022. In this context of moderate improvement, the trend of gradually increasing optimistic view of the future and decreasing pessimism, observed from 2012 to 2021, is reversed. The percentage of people who believe their situation will improve in the next five years decreases in 2022, the largest decrease recorded in a single year, while the percentage of people who believe things will get worse increases for the first time.

Employment status, like good health and financial well-being, is associated with indicators of subjective wellness. There is a big difference on the perspective of the future between people who are working and those who are not. The first group shows above-average prospects for future improvement, while the second shows lower percentages.

Among the employed, 36,3% believe their situation will improve and 8,6% believe it will get worse in the next 5 years. Also in terms of life satisfaction, the percentage of very satisfied is higher among the employed (49,9%) than among jobseekers. On the contrary, when satisfaction with leisure time is considered, the lowest percentage of the very or fairly satisfied is found among the employed (62,1%, compared to the average of 65,7%).

Source: BES 2022

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