Personal relationships play a significant role in life satisfaction. A well-functioning social environment contributes to the balance between work and personal life and allows individuals to feel part of a society. Good personal relationships also help to protect people from loneliness and promote their overall well-being.
On a scale from 0 (‘not satisfied at all’) to 10 (‘fully satisfied’), the average satisfaction of EU residents aged 16 and over with their personal relationships stood at 7.9 in 2018 - the highest rating registered across all of the life domains measured in the statistics on income and living conditions survey (EU-SILC). The level of satisfaction with personal relationships was slightly higher for women (8.0) than men (7.9).
The younger and older populations: the most satisfied with relationships
In 2018, the satisfaction with one’s personal relationships was highest amongst younger people aged 16-24 (8.3) and 25-34 (8.0) as well as amongst those aged 65-74 (8.0). The level of satisfaction however declined to 7.9 as from the age of 75.
At the opposite end of the scale, the working age (35-64) population registered a mean satisfaction lower than for the younger and older age groups (7.8).
Highest satisfaction with personal relationships in Ireland, Malta, Austria and Slovenia
Interestingly, differences between Member States are much lower than for satisfaction with other life domains. With an overall average of 8.6, inhabitants of Ireland, Malta, Austria and Slovenia were the most satisfied with their personal relationships in the EU. They were followed by those in Cyprus and Sweden (both 8.5), Finland (8.4) and Czechia (8.3).
At the opposite end of the scale, residents in Bulgaria (6.6), followed by those in Greece (7.1), Croatia (7.5), Italy, Hungary and Romania (all 7.6) were the least satisfied.
Source dataset: ilc_pw01
Since 2013, the mean level of satisfaction with personal relationships in the EU remained nearly stable at 7.8 in 2013 and 7.9 in 2018.
Among the EU Member States, the mean satisfaction with personal relationships increased since 2013 in 19 Member States. The highest increases were recorded in Bulgaria (from 5.7 in 2013 to 6.6 in 2018, or +0.9), Cyprus (+0.5), Spain (+0.4), Estonia, Italy, Portugal and Slovenia (all +0.3).
Compared with 2013, the mean satisfaction with personal relationships remained unchanged in three Member States: Ireland, Hungary and Romania, while a decrease was recorded in five Member States: Denmark, Latvia and the Netherlands (all -0.3), Lithuania and Luxembourg (both -0.2).
For more information, take a look at the Statistics Explained article on subjective well-being statistics.
This news item is published on the occasion of the International Day of Friendship (30 July) to foster the idea that friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities.
To contact us, please visit our User Support page.
For press queries, please contact our Media Support.