The Korea Herald


Koreans’ life satisfaction index stays below OECD average

By Kim Yon-se

Published : Dec. 19, 2013 - 20:15

    • Link copied

Data from Statistics Korea showed Thursday that Koreans’ overall life satisfaction has remained at a relatively low level despite larger incomes and other achievements.

“Koreans’ self-evaluated life satisfaction index fell behind the average of the 34 member countries surveyed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development,” the state statistics agency said in its analysis of the Korean social trend for the past decade.

Citing the Paris-based organization’s report on “How’s Life?: Measuring Well-being 2013,” which is based on polls from 2012, the agency noted that Koreans’ life satisfaction index stood at 6.0 points while the OECD average came to 6.6 points.

Switzerland topped the list with 7.8 points, followed by Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Finland.

Korea also lagged behind the Czech Republic and Slovakia in the index for citizens’ satisfaction.

Statistics Korea said citizens older than 60 had the lowest level in the index among all Koreans in 2012.

Some Korean economists say that Korea has reached the phase of being subjected to the Easterlin paradox, proposed by U.S. economist Richard Easterlin in 1974. The paradox states that although people with higher incomes are more likely to report being happy, rising incomes do not necessarily lead to increases in subjective well-being.

A report from the state-controlled Korea Development Institute indicated that the country urgently needs to work out a development strategy that ensures a balance between growth and social integration.

By Kim Yon-se (