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How Happy is Hong Kong? Well, It Depends

By Brian Adams 17 February 2015
According to a poll by Lingnan University, Hong Kongers rate about a 70.5 out of 100 on the university’s Happiness Index. However, City University also has a Happiness Index and rates Hong Kong at a 6.98 out of 10. According to the Happy Planet Index, Hong Kongers are a miserable 37.5 out of 100. ( Don’t worry, nobody actually reaches 100 – Costa Rica took home top honours with a 64. Confused? Well you’ll really be shaking your head if you see the results from Gallup. According to this perennial source of survey information, Hong Kongers are happy. No sad. No happy. Well they’ll really just give you 37 pages of survey results and let you figure it out. We stopped compiling the data after our happiness index plummeted. Given this mix of results, we decided to hit the streets recently and find out just how happy or miserable Hong Kongers are feeling. We didn’t have any real scientific process or funding of any kind. We simply sent our intern out on the street to ask 100 people how happy they are on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being very unhappy and 10 being very happy. We quickly found out that people were doing pretty well, but they wanted to be doing better. Most people gave us two numbers, one was how happy they felt on an average day and the other was how happy their current situation made them feel at that exact moment. For example, a 65-year-old Hong Konger told us, “I’d give 8 for now, but if Hong Kong people get more political freedom, 10 is a possible number. I wish I can give you 10 after a few years.” When we tallied up the results we found an average level of happiness of 7.47. Overall, many locals told us that they are very content with the kind of life they have in Hong Kong, but they were uneasy with the current political situation. Here are a few reasons people gave for their happiness:
  • Hong Kong is a place with great culture where you can meet a lot of fun-loving, open-minded people;
  • The weather never gets too cold;
  • Great infrastructure and convenient transportation; and
  • Safety (“I’ve travelled to so many different cities but nowhere I could walk home drunk at 3am in an alleyway except Hong Kong,” said one 38-year-old British woman who has been living in Hong Kong for six years.).
A few common reasons people shared for their lack of happiness:
  • It’s too expensive to live in Hong Kong;
  • It’s too expensive to raise kids;
  • Long working hours;
  • An unstable political situation;
  • Too much partying and alcohol;
  • You get no time for yourself; and
  • Air pollution.
We also captured some of their responses on camera.

Polling and video by Stella Ko

How happy are you? Let us know in the comments below.  

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