Looking for the formula for a content life in Britain?

Get married, have between two and four children, live in Scotland and get a job.

At least that's the recipe revealed in an experimental new analysis about what makes Britain tick.

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The research revealed by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) aims to study how satisfied people are with their lives, and is part of a programme to measure national well-being.

People from Scotland –and Northern Ireland – were, on average, the most satisfied with their lot, scoring 7.5 and 7.6 out of 10.

It compares with 7.4 for both England and Wales.

People in London and the West Midlands were the least satisfied, scoring 7.2 out of 10, while people in the South East and South West of England seemed to be most satisfied, scoring 7.5 out of 10.

The data also suggested women are generally more satisfied and happier, yet also more anxious than men; and people are less satisfied and more anxious the longer they are unemployed.

The study is all part of the Government's bid to quantify emotions and feelings to try to find ways to improve people's well-being as well as their incomes.

They are spending £2 million a year to try to gauge well-being alongside the traditional counts of gross domestic product and economic success and failure.

The study showed people with children felt more worthwhile compared with those with no children. Those with no offspring scored 7.6; those with one child scored 7.7; and those with two scored 7.9.

People with four children were just as happy as those with two, while those with three and those with five or more scored 7.8.

The first national well-being results are due to be published in July, but the ONS yesterday published data from 80,000 adults.