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Singaporeans are more satisfied with life in general, but are not as happy and are having less fun




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According to a survey conducted by the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2016 and 2017, citizens of Singapore are more satisfied with life in general, but conversely, are unhappier with certain aspects of life.

The results of this survey were included in the launch of a book entitled Happiness, Wellbeing and Society – What matters for Singaporeans, on May 31, Thursday at NUS’ Shaw Foundation Alumni House. The authors, Siok Kuan Tambyah and Tan Soo Jiuan, are associate professors at NUS Business School.

The latest survey, which is the fifth to be conducted from 1996, 2001, 2006 and 2011, had 1,503 respondents from the ages of 15 years old and older, and was taken from a nationally-representative sample from October 2016 to February 2017.

What are Singaporeans most and least satisfied about?

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According to the survey, what Singaporeans are most satisfied concerning interpersonal relationships, such as those with their parents, children and siblings. Satisfaction level concerning the overall quality of life in Singapore has also gone up.

On the other hand, what Singaporeans are least satisfied about, on the average, is their overall quality of life on a personal level. The results from the latest survey are lower than those from former years. From 15 choices given, respondents said they were least satisfied with their household income, studies (for students) and jobs (for working adults), level of education attained, and standard of living.

What are Singaporeans most and least satisfied about with regards to living in Singapore?


Concerning living in Singapore, the respondents said they were most satisfied about the following: the level of safety and security in Singapore, the availability of public services, the quality of law enforcement and education, the convenience of public transport, and the quality of infrastructure.

Again, regarding life in Singapore, given 25 choices, the respondents were least satisfied about the following: the affordability of cars, the affordability of properties, cost of living, ratio of locals to foreigners, and affordability of healthcare.

Concerning democratic rights

When it comes to democratic rights, in comparison to the last published results from 2011, Singaporeans are less satisfied now with six aspects of democratic rights, which include the right to vote, and the right to gather and demonstrate. At the bottom of the list are the right to criticize the government and freedom of speech, especially among singles with medium levels of education aged 25 to 35 years old.

Life less fun in Singapore?

Authors Siok Kuan Tambyah and Tan Soo Jiuan discovered from the surveys that fun, enjoyment and excitement have consistently been lacking in Singapore for the last two decades. Tan Soo Jiuan wondered whether people in Singapore do not consider pleasurable experiences to have high worth in life, since what most Singaporeans pursue is their livelihood. He asked whether this implies that Singapore is as dull as it has been in the past.

Results in general

In general, the results of the survey showed that Singaporeans are less happy, have a decreased enjoyment for life, and feel a diminished sense of achievement, in comparison with previous results in 2011.

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