London, Apr 9 : The traditional belief 'money can buy you everything but happiness' is not untrue after all, for according to a new survey Brit families are healthier and twice as well off as they were two decades ago, but are no happier.
Despite three decades of dramatically improving living standards, an official measure of how contented and secure we feel remains unchanged.
Life expectancy has increased significantly over the past 35 years for both men and women, while the number of people dying from heart disease and strokes has markedly declined, figures have disclosed.
Household wealth and expenditure also doubled in Britain between 1987 and 2006, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in its Social Trends survey. Yet despite this boost in health and wealth, levels of contentment remain virtually unchanged.
Between 1973 and 2006, people's satisfaction levels have hovered around an average of 86 per cent.
The ONS said the plateau effect was an example of the "Easterlin Paradox", in which the relationship between income and happiness declines after a certain level of wealth is reached.
"In the UK, as in the United States and many other countries, life satisfaction overall has levelled off, despite increasing real economic wealth," the Telegraph quoted Paul Allin, an ONS spokesman, as saying.
The study showed how real household net wealth per head in the UK increased from 51,818 pounds in 1987 to 114,000 pounds in 2006.
People enjoyed 5,542 pounds of household disposable income per head in 1971, compared with 13,000 pounds in 2006, the report found.
This has led to a huge rise in consumption of goods such as dishwashers, mobile phones and CD players.
Two-thirds of households possessed a home computer in 2006, compared with a third in 1997, the report found. Alongside this increasingly comfortable existence, people are predicted to live longer.
In 1971, life expectancy was 69 for men and 75 for women, whereas in 2006 it rose to 77 for men and 82 for women.
The report also found that the UK population is getting older with the number of people aged 65 and over expected to exceed the number of people under 16 by 2021.
According to the study, UK residents made a record 45.3 million trips abroad in 2006, an increase of 153 per cent since 1986. Spain was the most popular destination, accounting for three in 10 holidays, while France was second most popular.