SINGAPORE: Singaporeans are reporting a decline in their overall satisfaction with life, with a particular focus on household income and the standard of living, according to the findings of the latest Quality of Life Survey conducted by the National University of Singapore Business School.
The survey was detailed in the book “Happiness and Wellbeing in Singapore — Beyond Economic Prosperity,” authored by Associate Professor Siok Kuan Tambyah, Honorary Fellow Tan Soo Jiuan, and PhD student Yuen Wei Lun. Assoc Prof Tambyah, incidentally, is the wife of renowned infectious diseases specialist and opposition politician, Dr Paul Tambyah.
The findings of the poll, which surveyed 1,905 Singapore citizens aged 21 and older, revealed that while Singaporeans were “generally satisfied with their lives” and believed they had the things important to them in 2016, this sentiment has decreased in 2022.
The average satisfaction with life score in 2022 stood at 3.92, a notable decline from the 4.29 recorded in the 2016 survey. Similarly, the overall satisfaction with the quality of life, measured on a scale of 1 to 6 across 15 life domains, posted an average of 4.38 in 2022, compared to 4.81 in 2016 and 4.83 in 2011.
Delving into specific domains, Singaporeans reported the highest satisfaction in relationships with children, parents, and siblings, marriage or romantic relationships, and spiritual lives. However, dissatisfaction was most pronounced in areas related to household incomes, the standard of living, health, and relationships with neighbors and jobs.
Notably, households with monthly incomes below $1,000 expressed the highest level of dissatisfaction, while those earning $17,500 to $19,999 reported the highest levels of happiness.
The Cantril Ladder, which reflects cognitive evaluations of life on a 10-point scale (with 10 being the best possible life), showed Singaporeans in 2022 reported a score of 5.99, indicating a significant decline in cognitive wellbeing compared to the 2016 expectations. However, there seems to be optimism for the future, as the average score for 2027 is anticipated to rise to 6.45.
Despite these concerning findings, Singapore ranks 25th among 137 countries in the World Happiness Report 2023. The study provides valuable insights into the evolving sentiments of the population and highlights the need for further exploration into the factors contributing to this decline in life satisfaction.