Turks getting richer but not happier, figures show
by Yusuf Ziya Durmuş
Mar 12, 2014 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Yusuf Ziya Durmuş
Mar 12, 2014 12:00 am
The TurkishStatistical Institute (TurkStat) released the results of its 2013 survey for life satisfaction yesterday.
The results show the number of self-declared happy individuals decreased to 59 percent in 2013 from 61 percent in 2012, while the number of unhappy individuals rose to 10.8 percent from 10.2 percent in 2012. The survey indicates the percentage of happy women declined to 61.9 in 2013 from 62.8 in 2012 while the percentage of men who reported being happy fell to 56.1 percent from 59 percent.
On the other hand, data provided by the Ministry of Development shows poverty levels dropped considerably over the past decade.
The percentage of individuals who spend below $4.30 - considered to be the poverty level - was 13 in 2006.
This figure dropped to 2 percent in 2012. According to the data provided by the ministry, the Gini coefficient, a statistical measure that represents income distribution, declined to 0.38 in 2012 from 0.40 in 2006, indicating a more equitable income distribution.
TurkStat's life satisfaction survey shows the highest satisfaction was with security services. A full 79.4 percent of participants expressed satisfaction with overall security in the country, while 76.4 percent expressed satisfaction with transport and 74.7 percent with health services.
Still, the future is not so gloomy for Turks, according to the survey results. The percentage of people harboring hope for a better future rose to 77 percent from 76.6 percent in 2012.
In terms of the correlation between life satisfaction and education level, the survey indicates university graduates have the greatest life satisfaction, with 62.5 percent happy. The least satisfied are those who failed to complete grade school, at 57.3 percent. Professor Nevzat Tarhan, a leading psychiatrist and president of Üsküdar University, told Daily Sabah that statistically, the life satisfaction survey did not indicate a considerable decline in happiness of individuals. However, he added that it might necessitate the government to take more measures to resolve particular social problems. "The survey shows the government received a positive response for investments it made in public services such as healthcare. But social problems such as domestic violence and marriage problems affect the overall life satisfaction," Tarhan said. The professor noted that the decline in poverty rate brought forward other problems that need to be resolved.
"Social issues still need solutions. Living standards improve but this time, new needs emerge. Life satisfaction then focuses on these problems such as violence against women and although people earn more, they still tend to suffer from these issues. So, the government now needs to focus on resolving these issues through initiatives such as helping domestic violence victims or helping troubled marriages through consultation services for the couples," Tarhan said.