Harlow Town centre during Tier 4 restrictions

Harlow has been placed among the bottom 10 in the UK for life satisfaction rates, according to official data.

Researchers with The Office for National Statistics asked 150,000 people from all over the country, revealing that the people of Harlow were 7.3/10 content with their lives.

This puts the town a margin below the happiest places to live in Essex, Castle Point and Chelmsford with an average of 7.9/10.

To get the figures people are asked to evaluate, on a scale of zero to 10, how satisfied they are with their life overall, whether they think they have meaning and purpose in their life, and about their emotions during a specific period.

Councillor Mark Ingall, Leader of Harlow Council, said: “It’s really disappointing and sad to hear that so many people in Harlow are finding life difficult. There is a lot of deprivation, so people don’t see things getting better. For example, they don’t think they’ll ever be able to buy or even rent their own home.”

The rise of COVID-19 and the imminence of Brexit could’ve contributed to this deterioration as the UK’s overall anxiety ratings increased by 6.3%, the largest increase since they began recording personal well-being in 2011.

“Harlow is committed to building more social rented housing which is truly affordable”
Councillor Mark Ingall

Shauna Powe, a 22-year-old graduate who has rented in Harlow for the last few years, said: “Everyone is really connected as a community which you don’t find these days in many big towns…I think that rate is bound to rise after the pandemic, it has brought people together like never before.”

Coun Ingall also pointed out that Harlow is a well-planned town with lots of green spaces, “We have some of the biggest green areas in the country, during pandemic these have been a source of escape and enjoyment for many”, he said.

“Harlow is committed to building more social rented housing which is truly affordable but nationally an increase in the minimum wage would make a huge difference to the people of Harlow”, he continued.

The next figures are due to be released in early in 2021, with the year we have all had it will be interesting to see how Harlow and the rest of Essex will compare to the rest of the UK in the next lot of data.

Last year, Harlow was ranked 20 out of 326 local authorities in England in terms of overall deprivation- 1 being the most deprived.

All data can be found at www.ons.gov.uk