Taiwan’s national happiness index advanced 0.29 of a point to 6.93, reflecting improving local living conditions, according to the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) on Monday.
Launched in 2013, the DGBAS indicator measures the well-being of citizens on a scale of zero to 10 via 11 subindexes spanning material living conditions and quality of life. It is based on the Better Life Index of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
According to the OECD standard, Taiwan ranked 18th among its 34 members, as well as Brazil and Russia, up one place from last year and ahead of Japan at 21st and South Korea at 26th. Australia, Norway and Sweden topped the list in that order.
Taiwan performed strongly in income, up two places and trailing only the US on the OECD list based on household purchasing power parity comparison. It also advanced one spot to ninth in jobs but dropped back a place along with Canada to fourth in safety.
Progress was also made in civic engagement, community, edu-cation and life satisfaction, with Taiwan rating 17th, 13th, 21st and 24th, respectively. Its rankings in health and housing remained unchanged at 15th and 9th.
Despite significant improvements in raising Taiwan’s air quality, the country dropped two places from last year to finish at the bottom for environment. This was attributed to the high population and vehicle density, thriving business activity, and generally low satisfaction with drinking water quality.
Longer work hours and less personal time and leisure also saw the Taiwan drop two places to the 20th in work-life balance.
The DGBAS report includes a survey on the leading factors contributing to happiness in Taiwan, with living convenience, national health insurance, and food in that order for both males and females. Other consi-derations valued by the locals include scenery, freedom of speech, friendliness, night mar-kets and good social order.