The Turkish people were slightly happier in 2015 compared to 2014 according to the Life Satisfaction Survey from the Turkish Statistical Institute (Turkstat). Family, children and good health seem the most important sources of happiness. Globally, Turkey scores mediocre in the World Happiness Report.
By Laurens Bammens*
(Maps&Graphics created by Laurens Bammens* )
56.6% of the Turkish people were happy in 2015. That is just 0.3 percent points higher than 2014. 32% said they were neither happy nor unhappy and 11.4% said they were unhappy. More women seem happy than men (60.2% versus 52.9%).
The happiest age group in 2015 was the youngest from 18 to 24 years old (63.8%). Strangely enough, the eldest age group of 65 and above got surpassed by the youngsters. The elders dropped from 62.8% of them being happy in 2014 to 56.8% last year.
” For young people, friends are a big part of their life”
What makes people the happiest?
Family is the number one thing that keeps people happy (72%). Other sources include children (13%), parents (3%), their spouse (5%) and grandchildren (2%). Truth be told, these are all overlapping terms.
It seems as though the term ‘friends’ is missing from the survey. Certainly for young people, friends are a big part of their life. ‘I don’t believe that friends necessarily need to be included in the survey. This representation seems correct to me’, says 22-year old Sadettin Demirel, ‘It is true that in Turkey, the youth is very dependent on their family, even when they are older than 18.’
Family as the main source for happiness has been the highest since 2004, when Turkstat started the annual survey. Since then, the score has gone up and down, but has more or less stayed around 70%. So nearly 3 out of 4 people say their family is their biggest source of happiness.
The survey also counted for other things, for example how satisfied people are with the educational system. Most people (58.97%) seem satisfied while 17.09% is not satisfied. 12.17% was undecided and 11.77% apparently had no idea. In comparison, in 2004 only 48.7% of the people were satisfied with their education.
When talking about the values that makes people happy, the Turks consider their health as the key factor (69%). Next to that is love (16%), success (8%), money (4%) and their job (2%).
‘Money would really make happy right now’, says Oğul Baser (21), ‘because I am poor at the moment. Studying costs a lot of money.’
Turkey is on the 76th place of countries where people are the happiest according to the World Happiness Report by the United Nations. That number is right in the middle of 158 countries. The report calculates the result by the average ladder score. A score where people evaluated their current happiness on a score between 0 and 10. Turkey has an average of 5.332.
Some of the highest ranking countries are Switzerland (7.587) in first place, Iceland (7.561) in second place and Denmark (7.527) in third place. The rest of the top 20 consists mostly of Western countries, but also Costa Rica and Mexico.
The lowest ranking countries are also some of the poorest countries. Togo (2.839) is in last place, Burundi (2.906) is second last and Syria (3.006) is currently the third lowest ranking country.
For more information you can find the data set here: http://dagmedya.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Tables.xls and on the website of the World Happiness Report: http://worldhappiness.report/.
Laurens Bammens, PXL Journalism student and he is Dağ Medya Intern during the 15 February – 3 June 2016