Hong Kong's women are happier than men, survey finds

Study finds that Hong Kong's men are getting glummer, and everyone in town is less satisfied

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 December, 2013, 5:29pm
UPDATED : Friday, 13 December, 2013, 11:29am

Maybe they have always had an inkling they were the cheerier sex, but a new study has proved that Hong Kong's women are happier than its men.

And this year they were even happier than last year, whereas it was a gloomier year for the chaps.

Lingnan University's centre for public policy studies surveyed 942 people from October to last month asking them simply: are you happy? Using a scale of zero to 100, with 100 being the happiest, the study found that Hongkongers' overall happiness score rose slightly from 70.3 last year to 70.5 this year.

"This shows that Hong Kong people are happy even in times of adversity. They can handle the difficult times," the centre's director Professor Ho Lok-sang said, pointing to social problems such as inflation.

However, the study found the happiness score for men was 68.1 this year, down from 69.1 last year, while for the women it went up from 70.3 to 71.4.

Ho said this was mostly because men set high expectations for themselves at work, but when they failed to reach their goals, they tended to get upset.

"You can say that most men face more pressure as they are the family breadwinners. And in some cases, they are upset when their women make more money than they do," Ho said.

The survey also found that rich people were happier than the poor. The happiness score for people with a family income of less than HK$10,000 was just 65.31, compared with 73.3 for those with HK$40,000 or more.

"Rich people are happier because they have the money to do the things they want to do," Ho said. "But I think as long as you know how to manage your problems, you can be happy too."

And on a scale of zero to 10, with 10 being the most satisfied, Hongkongers' satisfaction with the government's policies fell from 4.77 to 4.14 this year. The score for their satisfaction with living standards also dropped slightly from 6.03 to 5.75.

Centaline Property Agency co-founder Shih Wing-ching, whose charity foundation sponsored the study, gave himself a happiness score of 80.

"I am a quite a happy person because I know how to adjust the expectations I set for myself," he said. "It is not about how much money you have, or how successful you are. It's about living your life to the fullest."

Separately, a South China Morning Post poll found earlier this week that Hongkongers were far less happy with life than those in mainland cities. Fewer than 25 per cent of Hongkongers felt their standard of living had improved in recent years, while 66 per cent of mainlanders said their living standards had got better.