Sun, Apr 15, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Taiwan’s ‘suffering index’ drops

NOT BAD:According to an annual Gallup poll that measures the quality of people’s lives, Taiwan is a country where very few people struggle and most people thrive

Staff Writer, with CNA, Washington

Taiwan’s “suffering index” dropped to 5 percent last year, well below the Asian average of 11 percent, in the latest annual Gallup survey of 157 countries on their citizens’ well-being.

The suffering index measures respondents’ perceptions of where they stand on a ladder scale with steps numbered from zero to 10, where zero represents the worst possible life.

Individuals are considered to be “suffering” if they rate their current lives at four or lower and expect their lives to be the same in five years’ time.

In Taiwan, only 5.3 percent of respondents were classified as suffering. This was down 3 percentage points from the previous year and down 9 percentage points from 2009.

Asian countries overall scored well in the survey, with a suffering index averaging 11 percent, compared with 14 percent in Europe and 6 percent in the Americas.

Other suffering indices in the region showed 4.5 percent of respondents in Vietnam said they were suffering, 6.2 percent in Malaysia, 6.5 percent in South Korea, 9.4 percent in Indonesia, 9.8 percent in Japan and 12 percent in China.

Thailand, at 1 percent, was the Asian country with the lowest suffering index and trailed only Brazil, Switzerland and Norway, among all countries surveyed.

The countries with the highest suffering index were Bulgaria at 45 percent, Yemen (38 percent), Armenia (35 percent) and El Salvador (33 percent).

Though Taiwan made progress in the “suffering” part of the index from 2010 to last year, it fared slightly worse in the number of respondents who were classified as “thriving,” falling to 31 percent from 32 percent in 2010.

Compared with other countries in the region, that number was on a par with Singapore, where 34 percent of people said they were thriving, better than Japan (26 percent) and China (18 percent), but worse than South Korea, where 50 percent were thriving, and Thailand (46 percent).

The survey was conducted through face-to-face interviews or via telephone in 157 countries on about 1,000 people aged over 15 per country.

In Taiwan, 1,001 people were interviewed between June 15 and Oct. 6 last year, and the poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

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