The fallacy of ‘miserable Wolverhampton’

This week Wulfrunians have been negatively labelled in a survey that tells us that Wolverhampton is the most miserable city in Britain (followed closely by neighbouring Sandwell). The survey in question was conducted by the Legatum Institute, who have combined results of happiness ratings collected by the Office for National Statistics with the wealth of an area.

Maybe we shouldn’t be too quick to dismiss the findings of the institute and acknowledge that we do indeed have some problems in Wolverhampton. The average annual income for employees in Wolverhampton is just over £18,000. Compare this to a national average of around £26,500 (2014) and the gap can easily be seen – though this gap is minute compared to what the super rich are earning. Just two and a half days after the New Year’s break these big earners have surpassed what those of us on average wages earn in a year, even quicker for Wolverhampton’s average wage. For things to change in Wolverhampton, we need to encourage investment as well as empower prospective start up businesses by offering generous rates.

Dave Edwards of Wolverhampton Wanderers poses with a fan at the ‘In The City Day’ in Wolverhampton’s Mander Centre

While we can’t dispute that the average wage in Wolverhampton is low, we can point out flaws in the Office for National Statistics’ well-being survey. Some are pointed out here by Geraldine Kendall of the Museums Association. She points out (prior to the survey being conducted) that the survey fails to take into account participation in culture, heritage and the arts. Can happiness really be measured? Happiness or well-being is subjective – it really does depend on the person. For example, a husband and wife may live together, work in the same area, earn the same amount, go on the same holidays – but whilst the wife is happy, the husband is not. We’re sure that the majority of Wulfrunians are happy with their lot in life – but where they’re not, we’d encourage them to do whatever it takes to change that. Yes, easier said than done, but we can’t always rely on the authorities to look out for us – we’re all capable of generating our own happiness and that of those around us by doing the things we enjoy.

The City of Wolverhampton Council and Wolverhampton Wanderers did their utmost to bring some happiness to the city centre on Monday, with an ‘In The City Day’ in the Mander Centre, featuring a cat walk and the opportunity to meet and have photographs taken with Wolves players.


And today, Scott Mills on BBC Radio 1 designated his show a Wolverhampton special in an attempt to negate the bad press the city has been getting as of late.

So chin up, people care and things really aren’t that bad..

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