The provisional findings of the latest Gross National Happiness (GNH) survey show that 91.2 per cent of Bhutanese are happy, it was revealed at the opening of the International GNH conference in Paro.
The GNH index, used to provide a reliable, comprehensive and upto-date picture of the country&’s overall situation and progress, is moderately higher at 0.756 this year, as compared to 0.743 in 2010.
The GNH Index is a multi-dimensional and survey-based measure of well-being and happiness of the Bhutanese population.GNH in Bhutan has increased by 1.8 per cent since the last survey carried out five years ago, according to the Centre for Bhutan Studies (CBS) and GNH Research.
Of those found to be happy, 8.4 per cent of Bhutanese are categorised as being “deeply happy”, 35 per cent as “extensively happy”, and 47.9 per cent as “narrowly happy”.
A little under nine per cent of Bhutanese are unhappy.
The percentage of deeply and extensively happy people has increased from 40.9 per cent to 43.4 per cent. CBS describes “narrowly happy” as someone enjoying sufficient achievements in between half and two-thirds of the GNH domains, and deeply or extensively happy, if it is two-thirds or more.
There are nine domains in GNH that cover psychological wellbeing, community, culture, governance, knowledge, health, living conditions (which includes income), time use, and harmony with the environment.
The goal is to have sufficiency in all domains. “The aim is for all Bhutanese to be extensively or deeply happy,” a CBS press release says. “Bhutan is closer to achieving that aim in 2015 than it was in 2010”.
The improvement in GNH is a result of improved living standards and service delivery, better health, and more participation in cultural festivals, says CBS.Despite the overall increase in GNH, in some indicators there were significant reductions in sufficiency.
“But there were also decreases in psychological wellbeing, in which anger and frustration increased and spirituality decreased, and community, in which people&’s sense of belonging and their donations of time and money decreased, and the traditional etiquette of courtesy, Driglam Namzha, also seems to have weakened,” CBS points out in its press release.
“That is why, overall, the increase in GNH is moderate,” it is added.“The 2015 GNH Index provides a self-portrait of a society in flux, and offers Bhutanese the opportunity to reflect on the directions society is moving, and make wise and determined adjustments,” CBS and GNH Research President, Dasho Karma Ura, said.
The 2015 findings show that men are happier than women, with 51 per cent of men being happy compared to only 39 per cent of women. It has also been found that urbanites are happier than their rural counterparts.
Fifty five per cent of urbanites are happy compared to only 38 per cent of those living in rural areas.
More education means more happiness. Only 32 per cent of those without a formal education were happy as compared to over 60 percent of those having at least a high school education.
The happiest dzongkhags in Bhutan are Bumthang, Gasa, and Paro. Getting married could decrease your happiness if you go by the GNH findings. Happiness was highest for those who had never married, including monks.