Health, wealth and happiness: what do Britons hope for?

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
March 26, 2024, 10:13 AM GMT+0

We asked the public what their number one hope in life is

All of us have hopes in life, but what is it that Britons are most hopeful for? A new YouGov survey asks the public for the number one hope they have in their life right now.

Respondents answered in their own words, which we have organised into categories discussed below (a full list of categories can be found in the results tables at the end of this article).

Britons are most likely to have health-related hopes – 29% of people gave an answer in this category.

The largest answer within this – and the most common individual response across all results – is a desire to maintain one’s good health, at 16%. A further 4% wish to see improvements in their own health, and 6% hope for good health for their family. Another 4% say they hope to live long (and, in some cases, to prosper).

Almost half (48%) of the over-65s have a health-related top hope, the highest of any group. By contrast, only 7% of 18-24 year olds say the same.

"That my health allows me to continue with my passion of singing which allows me to raise money for charity."

"To eventually get my hip replacement operations done. The NHS has been booking me in for the operations and cancelling them at the last minute for the past eight to ten years."

"To stay as healthy as possible so I can still travel & see my family who live abroad & visit Peru."

"To live longer than my late mother, so that I can shout up "Ha ha, beat you mum." She would laugh at that."

"That I can live a healthy life to look after and help support my children and my grandchildren."

What do Britons hope for? Health

One in seven Britons put a finance-related hope at the top of their list (15%).

The most common finance-related desire, at 9%, is to have an adequate financial situation – for some this means clearing their debts, for others being able to stay afloat financially, while others wanted to see the cost of living ease.

Another 3% give more generic answers about wanting more money, while a further 3% put their sights higher still, hoping for a large influx of cash like a lottery win.

"That financial situations ease and myself and my wife can treat our 3 year old to more days out etc to show her more of the world, that we are currently limited on due to the huge rises in prices in the general cost of living."

"For everything to be affordable again, to not have to worry about finances despite my partner and I both having high skilled, full-time jobs. To not worry about the cost of getting married or deciding whether to start a family."

"To stop working and win the lottery."

"That I can provide each of my children with some meaningful financial support in the near future."

"To secure a job I enjoy that pays a decent wage so I can afford the essentials and treat myself occasionally."

What do Britons hope for? Financial wellbeing

One in seven Britons say their top hope relates to their family (15%). In many cases this crosses categories – for example, that a family member’s health improves, or a general desire to maintain their happiness and wellbeing – but others spoke of starting or growing families, or spending more time with their families.

"To have a happy healthy baby and be able to afford to look after my family, including not just survival but living."

"That my family get through a rough patch and we come out the other side closer and stronger."

"That I grow old and have a happy life seeing my children grow up and have their own families."

"That a family member with a debilitating health problem shows some improvement."

"That my daughter doesn’t marry her ******** boyfriend."

What do Britons hope for? Family harmony

One in eight Britons have top hopes relating to happiness (12%). Again, this often crosses over with other categories – such as the happiness of one’s family – but many hope simply for happiness for themselves.

"Live a life full of happy memories without regrets."

"That I can find some happiness somewhere in my life so can live it to the full without fear stopping me."

"That my family remain safe and happy."

"To get mentally better and start living a normal happy life."

"To be successful and happy with a family of my own."

What do Britons hope for? Happiness

While 4% of the whole population say their top hope was related to their career, this was actually the most popular answer among 18-24 year olds, of whom 15% say their top hope is along the lines of finding a new or better job, getting promoted or otherwise progressing in their career.

"Get a job that makes a meaningful difference to the world and I enjoy."

"Find something I want to do as a career rather than just another job."

"To secure a job I enjoy that pays a decent wage so I can afford the essentials and treat myself occasionally."

"Career advancement so I can learn more."

What do Britons hope for? Career aspirations

And some particularly altruistic Britons (6%) say they hope for world peace, or for an end to current conflicts.

"That the war drums die down and we can go back to real life again."

"That we have peace in the UK and don’t have to send our children to war."

"That there is peace and an end to the fighting in the Middle East."

"To live in a world without war and disease."

"For peace, why can't people just live together without fighting over religion and learn to accept one another's faith, this is the only planet we live on and they will destroy it."

What do Britons hope for? Peace in the world

See the full results here

What do you most hope for in life? Have your say, join the YouGov panel, and get paid to share your thoughts. Click here to join.

Photo: Getty

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