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Korea still has OECD’s least happy students

The level of happiness of South Korean students was one of the lowest among Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries, a survey showed Monday.

According to a survey conducted by the Institute for Social Development Studies of Yonsei University, the subjective happiness index of Korean students stood at 20th (88 points) among 22 OECD countries. Last year, Korea ranked 22nd. At the bottom of the list was Czech Republic with 81 points.


The survey was conducted on 7,343 elementary, middle and high school students nationwide last year, asking them about their health status, satisfaction toward school life and life in general.

The results also indicated that students here had a high chance of lacking sleep as they advanced to higher grades. The proportions of elementary, middle and high school students who experienced sleep deprivation were 24.4 percent, 37.6 percent and 59.4 percent, respectively.

About 9 percent of South Korean high school students had experienced suicidal thoughts more than three times. The proportion for elementary school students was at 5.6 percent and middle school students at 6.5 percent.

Austria topped students’ levels of happiness with 116 points, followed by Spain with 115 points, Norway with 112 points and Netherlands with 111 points.

In contrast to the low happiness index, South Korea ranked second-highest in the material welfare index, which is based on the percentage of poor households and education materials such as books, standing next to Finland.

By Byun Hee-jin (
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Korea Herald daum