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Ukraine shows an increase in the happiness index despite its stability in the world

The press release was prepared by Anatoly Pipych, apypych1@gmail.com

Since 2014, there has been a relative but steady decline in the happiness index in the world. It is calculated as the difference between the percentage of people who consider themselves happy and the percentage of unhappy people. This index fell from 64% in 2014 to 48% in 2018. In 2019, the happiness index remained the same as in 2018, which is 48%. Knowing this background, Ukraine, with a value of this index of 33%, shows clear progress. At the end of the last year, 51% of the Ukrainians considered themselves happy and only 18% thought their personal lives were unhappy. Thus, the happiness index was + 33% against + 8% in 2017 (this question was not asked in Ukraine in 2018). And although the indicator of Ukraine is relatively small (among the last ten countries on the list), we see positive dynamics.

 

The study in question has been conducting by the Gallup International Association (GIA), the association of independent polling organizations, since 1947 in 46 countries, including Ukraine from time to time. The Romir research holding is the only representative of this association throughout the post-Soviet space, and in Ukraine, the research was conducted by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS).

 

The global End of Year Survey (EoY) is conducted annually by the Gallup International Association, but Ukraine does not participate in this survey regularly. Last November, 45,000 respondents from 46 countries have answered the question: "To what extent are you satisfied with your life?".

 

More than half of respondents in the surveyed countries (59%) replied positively, about one in ten (11%) consider themselves unhappy. Slightly more than a quarter of the respondents (28%) consider themselves neither happy nor unhappy. That is, the corresponding average index was 48%. Thus, in Ukraine it is slightly lower than in the world as a whole (lower than the so-called "world index of happiness"), nevertheless, it shows a significant increase over the past two years: from +8 in 2017 to + 33 in 2019. Here are the survey data:

  

Histogram 1. How happy or unhappy do you feel about the events of your personal life?  

 

Histogram 2. Comparative indicators of happiness index in Ukraine in 2017 and 2019

 

 

Since Ukraine found itself among ten countries, where residents tend to assess their personal life as miserable, the data are provided for the relatively most "happy" and "unhappy" countries in the world. 

Table 1. Happiness index by countriesTop of the most “happy” and “unhappy” countries. 

As one can see, the degree of economic development does not yet make people's perceptions of their personal lives happier, and economic hardships do not make it necessarily unhappy. On the other hand, it may seem surprising that the happiness index in Ukraine is at the same level as the index in the UK. Also, the distribution of the happiness index across different regions of the world can be considered as interesting. It reiterates that neither the degree of economic development nor the region directly affects people's perceptions of life as happy or unhappy.

 

In this context, the distribution of the happiness index by regions of the world is quite informative:     

According to the data, even the presence or absence of military conflict in one or another region of the world have little impact on the perception of one's life as happy or unhappy, unless the conflict occurs directly in one`s locality. The personal life of an individual is to some extent autonomous from external influences. While these effects are certainly present, often they are not decisive.

Commentary of Volodymyr Paniotto, KIIS CEO

In English, the question was asked as follows: "In general, do you personally feel very happy, happy, neither happy nor unhappy, unhappy or very unhappy about your life?". Due to language differences, in this context “happiness” was translated rather as "life satisfaction". KIIS has studied both life satisfaction (see http://kiis.com.ua/?lang=ukr&cat=reports&id=882&page=3&y=2019) and the level of happiness (the question was "Do you feel happy?", see https://www.kiis.com.ua/?lang=ukr&cat=reports&id=775&page=1), the results are slightly different since happiness is more emotional, and life satisfaction is more rational. Therefore, although this index is called the "Global Happiness Index", it might be closer to life satisfaction. 

Both happiness and life satisfaction are affected not only by well-being but also by ambitions or aspirations. One can think of happiness as a fraction in which a level of well-being is the numerator and the level of aspirations is in a denominator. If the level of aspiration is low, then people can be happy and with low levels of well-being. Conversely, an increase in the level of ambitions reduces the level of happiness. Therefore, in some poor countries, the level of happiness may be higher than in some rich countries.

 

                Addition. Results of the survey in all countries where it was conducted, 2019.

 

Country  Polled Q2. In general, do you personally feel very happy, happy, neither happy nor unhappy, unhappy or very unhappy about your life?  
Very happy Happy  Neither happy nor unhappy Unhappy Very unhappy Do not know/no answer Index
WORLD IN GENERAL 45676 13% 46% 28% 8% 3% 1% 48%
AFGHANISTAN 1724 23% 38% 33% 4% 1% * 56%
ALBANIA 993 6% 46% 34% 10% 5% * 37%
ARGENTINA 547 29% 32% 27% 5% 4% 4% 52%
ARMENIA 1517 13% 60% 23% 2% 1% 1% 70%
AUSTRIA 1000 13% 48% 30% 8% 1% 1% 52%
AZERBAIJAN 500 20% 49% 26% 2% 1% 2% 66%
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA 1000 7% 55% 33% 3% 2% * 57%
BULGARIA 829 4% 41% 40% 9% 1% 4% 35%
COLOMBIA 1202 24% 66% 7% 2% 0 * 88%
CZECH REPUBLIC 1000 10% 40% 41% 7% 1% 2% 42%
ECUADOR 600 12% 74% 13% 1% 0 1% 85%
FINLAND 1286 6% 52% 31% 9% 2% 1% 47%
FRANCE 1000 6% 41% 44% 7% 2% * 38%
GEORGIA 1086 20% 38% 37% 3% 1% 1% 54%
GERMANY 1000 7% 44% 38% 8% 2% 1% 41%
HONG KONG 537 4% 29% 39% 21% 7% * 5%
INDIA 1003 13% 47% 30% 8% 2% * 50%
INDONESIA 1033 14% 73% 9% 1% 0 2% 86%
IRAQ 1000 10% 34% 18% 27% 12% * 5%
IRELAND 1011 14% 48% 25% 10% 3% * 49%
ITALY 1217 2% 46% 45% 5% 1% 1% 42%
JAPAN 1153 16% 46% 25% 3% 1% 9% 58%
JORDAN 1000 2% 11% 35% 29% 22% 2% -38%
KAZAKHSTAN 808 20% 64% 13% 1% 0 2% 83%
KOSOVO 1013 26% 44% 20% 6% 2% 2% 62%
LEBANON 1000 1% 22% 40% 29% 9% - -15%
NORTHERN MACEDONIA 1210 9% 47% 34% 9% 1% 1% 46%
MALAYSIA 810 12% 47% 29% 10% 3% - 46%
MEXICO 500 27% 45% 20% 3% 3% 2% 66%
NIGERIA 1000 38% 48% 6% 5% 3% 1% 78%
PAKISTAN 1000 35% 39% 16% 7% 2% * 65%
PERU 1000 25% 47% 26% 1% 0 1% 71%
PHILIPPINES 1000 21% 62% 13% 4% 1% * 78%
POLAND 1016 9% 51% 28% 7% 2% 3% 51%
ROMANIA 501 9% 65% 16% 9% 2% * 63%
RUSSIA 1500 7% 35% 34% 14% 4% 5% 24%
SERBIA 1010 7% 45% 38% 9% 1% * 42%
THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA 1500 2% 55% 37% 4% 1% 1% 52%
SPAIN 1089 13% 59% 24% 2% 1% 1% 69%
SYRIA 686 3% 25% 36% 18% 17% 1% -7%
THAILAND 600 6% 58% 30% 6% 0 1% 58%
TURKEY 601 8% 42% 37% 10% 2% * 38%
UKRAINE 2043 11% 40% 30% 13% 5% 1% 33%
UNITED KINGDOM 1000 11% 44% 27% 13% 4% 1% 38%
USA 1049 19% 43% 21% 13% 4% 1% 45%
VIETNAM 501 15% 48% 35% 1% 0 - 62%

11.2.2020
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