About the Happiness Pulse

The Happiness Pulse measures the detailed reality of individual wellbeing. It gets to the heart of the how people feel and function in their lives, work and communities.
Happy City designed the Happiness Pulse in 2014 in partnership with the New Economics Foundation and a global advisory board, with national representatives from the ONS UK National Well-being Programme, University of Cambridge Wellbeing Institute, Public Health England (PHE), Department of Communities and Local Government (now the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government) and the United National Development Programme (UNDP).


About Happy City

Founded in 2010, we are a small UK charity with a big mission: to ‘make what matters count’. Happy City offers a place-based model of change that puts the wellbeing of current and future generations centre stage. It does this by developing new measures of progress and delivering training, projects and campaigns to help embed them into how places work. Based in Bristol, Happy City works with organisations large and small from the public, private and community sector, right around the UK.

The Happiness Pulse uses a set of core wellbeing measures, set within four survey modules: general wellbeing and:


Mental and emotional wellbeing – how people think and feel about their lives*


Behavioural wellbeing – how people think, what they do that supports better lives.


Social wellbeing – how people connect with others.

*The BE domain comprises questions from the Short Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (SWEMWBS). The Warwick–Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale was developed with funding provided by the Scottish Government’s National Programme for Improving Mental Health and Well-being. It was commissioned by NHS Health Scotland, developed by the University of Warwick and the University of Edinburgh in 2006, and is jointly owned by NHS Health Scotland, the University of Warwick and the University of Edinburgh.

Together these elements help paint a detailed picture of how people are feeling and functioning.

This information can then be used to drive better decision making at an individual, project, organisation or community scale.

Happiness Pulse data can be fed back at many levels – from individual to whole communities- allowing all stakeholders to better understand and act to increase wellbeing. Off the shelf or bespoke survey modules can be added to the four core modules to explore issues relevant to a particular organisation, sector or local area.

Engages, informs and provides direct feedback enabling each user to assess and improve their own lives in simple, low-cost ways.
Organisations and groups of every size and from every sector can use the Pulse to map wellbeing strengths and needs and demonstrate their social impact.
Local authority/region
Create a detailed local picture of how people are feeling and functioning in their lives.  Analyse wellbeing across geographical areas or demographics.