Happiness Rating still interesting, even despite respondents’ subjectivism

What Belarusians are pleased with and what they complain about

By Alexey Borisovsky

Answering the question as to what we need to ensure happiness, some list material assets. Others are laconic and brief. According to psychologists, each person’s needs and demands differ. The results of a recent survey are rather interesting, showing which aspects of life citizens are pleased with and showing the correctness of the state’s socio-economic policy.

The National Statistical Committee has conducted a survey, studying Belarusian attitudes towards living conditions as part of its traditional investigation of households. It aims to better understand public perceptions of well-being, so that they might be better met, with around 6,000 families polled countrywide. Questions were divided into three sections: satisfaction with living conditions; the availability of social infrastructure; and the quality of medical services.

The results showed that two thirds of households are satisfied with their living conditions, although residents primarily wish to enjoy more living space. A similar picture is seen regarding medical services, with 73 percent of the population satisfied with the quality of health care provided by state organisations. Moreover, about a third of all residents have benefitted from non-state healthcare organisations’ services. Most mentioned their satisfaction with the quality of care rendered.

Queues and a lack of necessary specialists at polyclinics and hospitals were given as reasons for complaint, while the high cost of medical services at non-state healthcare organisations was mentioned by 85 percent of those surveyed as the major reason for their inaccessibility. According to the National Statistical Committee, total satisfaction with the quality of medical services countrywide is characterised by subjective assessments.

Meanwhile, many Belarusians are unable to walk to their nearest shops, since major social infrastructure sites tend to be located 30 minutes away. Retail trade and public catering outlets tend to be most closely located, reachable within 15 minutes on foot.

Overall, rural residents are more satisfied with their living conditions than urbanities. Belarusians’ satisfaction is also evinced by the Gallup Happiness Rating, where our country is placed 57th among 124 nations. Approximately 57 percent of Belarusian residents note that their needs are primarily satisfied, with around 26 percent indicating that they struggle to fulfil their needs; 17 percent say that they need something more for happiness.

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