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According to the results of the Hong Kong Happiness Index Survey conducted by Chu Hai College of Higher Education in collaboration with Lingnan University’s Centre for Public Policy Studies, the Happiness Index for Hong Kong people in 2016 stands at 67.6 (on a scale of 0 to 100), significantly lower than last year’s 70.0. However, the main decline occurs with those aged below 30, whose happiness index plunged from 69.3 to 63.8, the lowest score on record.

This decline in the self-reported happiness index, paradoxically, occurs at a time when people’s satisfaction with the living environment, the media, the publicly funded healthcare system, and with the overall quality of public policy improving or stable. Moreover, young people’s satisfaction with all these aspects of living quality appears to be grossly out of line with that of other age groups. This suggests that their dissatisfaction with progress in political reform may have affected their perception about different dimensions of living quality.

The decline in an indicator for purposive living(6.32, dropping from 6.65) and a very low score for “not thinking too much about things beyond one’s control,” which stood at 5.28, down from 5.35 last year, offer some clue to the frustration and unhappiness of the younger group.

Respondents’ degree of satisfaction with the media rose slightly to 4.94 from last year’s 4.89, albeit still at a low level. Satisfaction with the living environment increased to 5.82 from last year’s 5.69, while that with public healthcare, at 6.29, is little different from last year’s 6.30. Youngsters’ (aged 21-29) satisfaction with the media and public policy also fell while other age groups’ satisfaction with both improved.

There are signs that over the period 2011 to 2016, the middle class has shrunk while the upper income and the lower income class have expanded. This is consistent with the observation of Kenichi Ohmae that an “M society” is emerging.

The Happiness Index of those with a monthly household income between $10,000 and $20,000 showed a rise of 2.21% from last year’s level to 6.97, while those with income below $10,000 showed a decline, by 5.54%. The Happiness Index of those with family income from $20,000 to $30,000 hardly changed.


The Hong Kong Happiness Index Survey in 2016 marks the twelfth consecutive year the survey has been conducted. Telephone interviews with a total of 925 respondents aged above 21 selected by random sampling were conducted from 19 September to 25 September 2016, with a response rate of 25.4%. This annual survey is sponsored by the Shih Wing Ching Foundation. The Centre for Public Policy Studies would like to express its gratitude for the Foundation’s continuous support.

Recommended Citation

Ho, L. S. (2016). Hong Kong Happiness Index Survey 2016. Retrieved from