M’sians generally a happy bunch

PUTRAJAYA: There is no significant gap between those of different races, genders, strata, age groups, education and marital status, with the Malaysia Happiness Index (MHI) 2021 showing that Malaysians are generally happy.

Chief Statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin, who shared the results of the first-ever study that measured the happiness level in the country, described the findings as pleasant and could be used as a guide for future developmental policies.

“The study shows the concept of inclusiveness because the results are similar across the board in terms of ethnicity, gender, and strata. This makes it easy for us to plan developmental policies as the gaps are not that wide,” he said at the launch of the MHI at the Statistics Department here yesterday.

Out of a possible 10, Malaysia scored 6.48 in a survey that was conducted from September to November last year.

At the international level, Malaysia, with a score of 5.384, ranked 79th out of 146 countries in the World Happiness Report 2021.

Finland is the world’s happiest country with a score of 7.842, followed by Denmark (7.620) and Switzerland (7.571).

Malaysia is also ranked 61 out of 186 countries and territories in the Human Development Report 2021 and 95 out of 152 countries in the 2019 Happy Planet Index.

“Overall, Malaysians are at a happy level despite the country facing the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and an economic crisis in 2021, the year when the MHI Survey 2021 was conducted.

“This scenario may be different in future studies,” he cautioned, adding that the study involved 42,446 respondents.

The survey had 73 indicators under the 13 components, namely family, housing and environment, social participation, health, communication facilities, education, working life, income, public safety, time use, religion and spiritual, culture and emotional experience.

People living in the federal territories were found to be the happiest, with Labuan having a “near perfect” score of 9.29, putting its people at the Very Happy level, Mohd Uzir said.

Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya scored 7.77 and 7.28 respectively, putting their residents at a Happy level, on par with Terengganu, Kelantan and Perlis, which scored 7.20, 7.02 and 6.96 respectively.

Melaka and Selangor were only Moderately Happy, scoring 5.85 and 5.74, respectively, said Mohd Uzir.

The index also found that married people are the happiest, scoring 6.48, although their single, divorced, or separated counterparts are not far behind, with a 6.47 score.

The widowed scored 6.40 on the index.

By gender, women were happier, scoring 6.49 compared to men at 6.46.

Mohd Uzir also said three components recording the highest score value were: the family component (7.23), religion and spiritual component (7.21), and the health component (6.75).

By educational attainment, Malaysians with tertiary education recorded the highest on the index at 6.58.

This was followed by those with primary education at 6.53, those with secondary education at 6.41 and those with no formal education at 6.31.

Rural folks in Malaysia are also found to be happier than urban dwellers, although both are at a Happy level, scoring 6.54 and 6.46 respectively.

It was found that the happiness index scores for all ethnic groups were at a Happy level with a score between 6.28 and 6.50, with the Bumiputra scoring the highest and “others” the lowest.

By age group, the index found that all age groups from 15 to over 65 were at a Happy level.

However, Malaysians aged 55 to 59 were the happiest, scoring 6.51.

The MHI barometer categorises a score of 0 to 2 as Very Unhappy, 2.01 to 4 as Unhappy, 4.01 to 6 as Moderately Happy, 6.01 to 8 at Happy, and 8.01 to 10 at Very Happy.

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