|Seven researchers with the presenter of the report, director Choi In-cheol (third from left) of Center for Happiness Studies of SNU. Korea Times file photo by Lee Han-na|
By Lee Han-na
Korea is the 57th happiest country among 156 countries included in the World Happiness Report of the United Nations. Countries usually only look at the results without paying much attention to their implications for policies or the public.
Seoul National University Center (SNU) for Happiness Studies confronts this traditional approach of happiness and claims that it's time to look deeper ― deeper into the inequalities of happiness present within the country.
|About H: 2019 Happiness Report of Korea. Courtesy of Book 21|
On April 15, "About H: Korea Happiness Report 2019," an infographic magazine, will be published as the first research collaboration between the Center for Happiness Studies of SNU and Kakao Together based on the 2018 data from about 1 million online users of Kakao Together and the search engine Daum.
It's the first series of research providing massive and detailed information based on gender, age and location, as well as the assessment of various factors affecting quality of life such as personality, self-esteem, materialism, gratitude, social comparison, and social support.
As countries look into happiness as it's linked to the public's satisfaction with governmental policies and their implementation, the Center for Happiness Studies provides specific data that is processed further to know how and why certain people are more or less happy and to measure the effect of certain social events in a year.
Happiness was measured in the research mainly by three important aspects: whether or not a person is satisfied with their life, realizes their purpose and importance, and lastly, its impact on personal well-being.
Their findings are interesting. Unlike the public belief that Monday is the gloomiest day, according to the survey, Thursday is the least happy day of the week and Sejong City as the happiest city in Korea.
Young adults in their 20s and 30s responded that they are unhappy and the happiness level for women in those age groups is lower than men.
Choi In-cheol, professor of psychology and director of the research center at Seoul National University, voiced worries about the survey results and claimed policymakers should consider the survey results when they forge and implement major policies.
Moreover, the survey also found political events such as the three inter-Korean summits last year also affected the happiness of the citizens. The first and second summits played a role to increase happiness levels, while the third one led to a relatively lower happiness rate.
The survey results defied public perception. Contrary to popular belief, the South Korean football team's miraculous victory over Germany during the 2018 World Cup did not led to an increase in happiness.
Lee Han-na is a Korea Times intern.