Hong Kong was ranked 76th out of 156 states in the annual World Happiness Report, indicating that overall life satisfaction in the SAR is — well, it is what it is.
Hong Kong’s ranking, which puts it between Croatia and the Dominican Republic, was unchanged from last year, and was largely attributed to its high per capita GDP, robust social support system, and high life expectancy. Finland was at the top of the heap in terms of happiness, and South Sudan was at the bottom.
Mainland China, meanwhile, ranked 93rd, a fall of seven spots from last year, while Taiwan came in at a respectable 23rd (well, isn’t that just wonderful).
Among its economic peers, Hong Kong fared pretty miserably. Switzerland, which has an almost identical per capita GDP, was sixth. Qatar, also with a similar per capita GDP, was 29th. The US, which isn’t far behind, was 19th.
A closer look at the findings appears to show that Hong Kong was brought down by low scores in “positive affect,” and high scores in “negative affect.” The two values measure how many people reported experiencing positive emotions (laughter, happiness, general contentment) or negative emotions (worry, sadness, anger) over the course of the previous day.
The SAR ranked 103rd for positive affect, and 28th for negative. In other words, territorially speaking, Hong Kong is kind of grumpy (and you would be too if you had to put up with this shit).
One statistic may go a ways towards explaining the SAR’s malaise. A graph included in a section of the report dealing with the US (though it’s not a stretch to imagine it would apply here as well) shows a shockingly neat negative correlation between increased time spent online and overall happiness.
It’s no secret that Hongkongers spend what might be considered an inordinate amount of time with their noses buried in their phones, as illustrated with dystopian gusto in a recent video by Hong Kong-based short film project Worldgrapher.
So maybe — and we’re going out on a limb here — maybe if we all put down the phones for a while, we’d be a little happier at the end of the day.
And if that doesn’t work, there’s always booze.