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COVID-19 in Turley: Data shows 4% drop in the number of ‘happy’ individuals in 2020

COVID-19 in Turley: Data shows 4% drop in the number of ‘happy’ individuals in 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic began dominating the lives of millions in Turkey in the spring of 2020. It has killed thousands and hospitalized many more since then. In this annus horribilis, happiness naturally took a hit. Yet, the results of an annual life satisfaction survey by Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) indicate only a slight decline in the percentage of people saying they are “happy,” from 52.4% in 2019 to 48.2% in 2020. The percentage of people openly declaring they are “unhappy” rose to 14.5% from 13.1% in 2019.

The TurkStat survey, made public Thursday, poses a few simple questions to citizens each year about whether they are happy or not, but the background data of interviewees reveals further details. For instance, women were happier than men. Under normal circumstances, women usually respond affirmatively to the question of whether they are happy with their lives in the surveys conducted by the country’s official statistics agency. Nonetheless, the percentage of “happy” women also decreased, from 57% to 53.1%.

Figures show marriage may be key to bliss in the country. Married individuals were happier singles last year. Among married women, 56.8% said they were happy. But the happiest sector of society was the elderly.

Strong family ties were instrumental in staving off the fallout of the pandemic, according to Family, Labor and Social Services Minister Zehra Zümrüt Selçuk. Selçuk told an online panel on family ties during the pandemic earlier this month: “Life satisfaction surveys in the past years showed that majority of people declared their families as their source of happiness. Despite all the negative consequences of the pandemic, the family remains a pillar of society. Our strong family ties powered us in coping with the pandemic, and it reminded us once more that how important family values are,” she said. The 2020 figures show that family is what made most people happy, with 69.7% of respondents agreeing.