The level of satisfaction that Koreans feel about their lives is lower than what other Asians feel.
On Sept. 16 Gallup, the U.S. survey company, and Healthways, a health consulting company, announced the rankings of the 2013 world quality of life index conducted through phone surveys and interviews targeting 300 million people older than 15 years in 135 countries last year.
The survey measures the five elements of purpose, social, financial, community, and physical well-being. Korea ranked 75th, behind Taiwan (18 percent, 55th), Japan (15 percent, 64th), Malaysia (24 percent, 36th), the Philippines (24 percent, 40th), Thailand (22 percent, 44th), India (15 percent, 71st) and Iraq (15 percent, 73rd).
In order to check the general sentiment towards subjective quality of life that people actually feel, apart from national strength and individual health, Gallup and Healthway requested participants to select among “thriving,” “struggling,” and “suffering” for each item. As a result, the majority of Koreans answered struggling (46 percent) or suffering (40 percent) regarding their purpose. Only 14 percent of respondents answered that they are satisfied with what they have achieved. In the social section, the number of people who chose struggling (47 percent) was more than double the number who answered positively. In the community and physical sections, more than half, 63 percent and 65 percent respectively, selected struggling. Among the five sections, Koreans were most satisfied with economics, as 37 percent said they are thriving.
However, El Salvador and Guatemala, which have sent numerous illegal immigrants to the U.S., as well as Saudi Arabia and Mexico which have high obesity rates, were ranked very high, which raises questions about the credibility of the study.