It seems what many islanders have been saying for a long time - ‘things ain’t as good as they used to be’ – is true.
A major report by Jersey’s Statistics Unit analysing life in the island with communities across the world shows that whilst in many respects life is still good, Jersey is progressively falling further and further behind France and the UK.
Pictured: Jersey placed mid-table - 19th out of the 39 jurisdictions surveyed - but came lower than both the United Kingdom and France (source Statistics Jersey).
To make judgements comparable, the so-called Better Life Index uses mathematically adjusted data to rank the island with 38 other jurisdictions across 11 broad categories. The information has also been used to make comparisons between Jersey and other UK regions.
When it comes to what is described as ‘civic engagement’ - how involved the population is in things such as voting - Jersey was the lowest of all the countries surveyed. Just over 43% of the population who are registered to vote took part in the 2018 election. Perhaps more worrying, the statistics show this is a steadily downward trend. The OECD average value was 69%.
Pictured: When it came to 'Civic Engagement', Jersey came bottom of the poll with just 43% of those registered voting.
At the other end of the scale the island ranked highly when it came to ‘community’. It was equal second with Ireland, just below Iceland. ‘Community’ is a measure of how much support people feel they could call upon in times of need.
The island also has a high rating when it comes to ‘personal safety’ – how safe people feel about walking home alone at night - 9.1 (on a score of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest). But, because a number of other countries scored even higher, Jersey slipped down the rankings. Almost four out of five adults in Jersey felt safe.
Pictured: Jersey did very well health-wise. 81% of adults in the island reported they were in either excellent or good health, the OECD average was 69%.
Another area in which the island ranked highly was ‘health status’. Elsewhere – ‘life satisfaction’, ‘environmental quality’, and ‘work-life balance’ - Jersey was mid table.
The results also confirm what it often claimed, that whilst islanders enjoy good job security and are highly paid, because of the cost of living, they have very little disposable income. The statistics though reveal a sub-text here. The gap in Jersey between the very well off and those struggling was much wider than in most other countries.
Having totted up scoring in the various categories Jersey ends up mid-table with a score of 6.8, placing it 19th out of 39. But, in the past whilst anecdotally people locally felt life was better than in England or France, evidence shows that is not the case. Perhaps even more worryingly the ‘Better Life Index’ differential between the island and its nearest neighbours seems to be widening.
It’s hoped the information will help inform States’ policy, and act as a benchmark for future reference.
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