Poll results released on Thursday suggested the individual happiness “score” for Taiwanese was 64.2 out of 100. However, people rated the public as a whole, as they saw it, as having a happiness score of only 48.9. Ironically, the same poll found that 92.3 percent of Cabinet members think Taiwanese are happy.
The poll by Global Views Magazine’s Survey Research Center, titled 2012 Taiwan Well-being Survey, asked 12 questions in total — concerning overall well-being, health, satisfaction with living standards, social connectivity and income — to gauge Taiwanese’s self-satisfaction.
Each question was scored between 1 and 10, with the higher the score the more satisfied with that particular aspect of well-being the participant was. A respondent who averaged 5 overall was categorized as “barely scraping by [in life],” while those who averaged between 6 and 8 were categorized as “slightly well-off and have a future.”
The average score across all questions stood at 6.43, or at the lower end of the range in the “slightly well-off” category.
A closer look showed that financial income and guarantees of a future warranted the lowest scores, at only 5.43 and 5.69 respectively. The magazine said this showed rising commodity and housing prices, coupled with static average salaries, was making most people worried about their economic future and having a negative impact on happiness.
When asked to comment on the overall happiness of the Taiwanese public, respondents rated it an average of 48.9, or far lower than they rated their own happiness, on average.
Global Views Magazine said the statistics showed Taiwanese’s sense of well-being was verging on the unsatisfactory.
Commenting on the findings, National Chengchi University (NCCU) Department of Statistics associate professor Cheng Tsung-chi (鄭宗記) said: “Even though everyone feels happy, when they view the public as a whole, they think everyone else feels unhappy, which indicates that well-being is not a simple additive process.”
Global Views Magazine said that of a total of 103 nations in the world, the Republic of China (ROC) ranked 41st for personal well-being, but last for national well-being.
NCCU professor Huang Kuo-chun (黃國俊) said that while Bhutan and Taiwan are both small countries, Bhutan, though poor, has a population that was happy, while Taiwan is rich and unhappy.
Global Views Magazine also invited 40 Cabinet members to participate in the poll.
The poll found that 76.9 percent of the officials felt that Taiwanese were “sufficiently happy,” 15.4 percent of officials felt that Taiwanese were “very happy,” and only 7.1 percent felt that Taiwanese were “slightly unhappy.”
Translated by Jake Chung, Staff Writer