Hong Kong one of the top 10 least happy places on earth

Panoramic view of the Hong Kong skyline taken from a path around Victoria Peak
Panoramic view of the Hong Kong skyline taken from a path around Victoria Peak

With ongoing political turmoil, increasing tensions with China, and everything from rent to gas prices increasing, it feels like everyone in Hong Kong has a reason to be glum. If you agree, congrats. Your instincts are solid.

According to a survey by Gallup International Association, Hong Kong was ranked the seventh-least happy place in the world behind Iran, Iraq, Ukraine, Greece, Moldova, and Brazil. The other three countries in the top 10 least unhappiest places are South Africa, Turkey, and Ghana. Ouch.

Believe it or not, that’s actually a big improvement from last year’s Gallup poll, which rated Hong Kong the second-least happy place in the world behind Iraq.

Just under 54,000 people from 55 countries were quizzed between October and December for the survey, which also asked respondents whether they feel the year ahead will be economically difficult or prosperous, and how hopeful they are for the future. The results for Hong Kong were based on a sample size of 500 people who responded to an online survey.

When Hongkongers were asked the question “in general, do you personally feel very happy, happy, neither happy nor unhappy, unhappy or very unhappy about your life?” 46% said they were happy, 17% said they were unhappy, 36% were “neutrals,” and 1% said “don’t know.”

The answers gave Hong Kong a net happiness score of just 29. For a bit of perspective, Coconuts Hong Kong sister countries Indonesia and the Philippines had net happiness scores of 68 and 84, respectively. Both countries were featured in the top 10 happiest countries in the world. Ranking at the very top were Fiji and Colombia, with net happiness scores of 92 and 87.

Despite this, Hongkongers are not alone in feeling unhappy. According to the survey’s overall findings for 2017, happiness experienced a global dip overall, with 59% of the people they surveyed worldwide claiming to be happy, down from 68% in 2016.

Gallup said: “2017 was a tough year, with terrorist attacks over almost each week, and it may have influenced personal lives all around the world. Nevertheless, a majority in all polled countries are happy.”

The survey also found that 40% of the global population feel 2018 will be better than 2017, compared to the 52% of the world who felt that 2017 would be better than 2016.

Subscribe to the WTF is Up in Southeast Asia + Hong Kong podcast to get our take on the top trending news and pop culture from the region every Thursday!

Reader Interactions

Leave A Reply


Support local news and join a community of like-minded
“Coconauts” across Southeast Asia and Hong Kong.

Join Now
Coconuts TV
Our latest and greatest original videos
Subscribe on