Turkish happiness in longest decline on record

Happiness in Turkey is in record decline, particularly among men, according to an annual survey published by the Turkish Statistical Institute on Thursday.

Less than half of Turks said they are happy, with 48.2 percent expressing that view, according to the Life Satisfaction Survey, 2020. The proportion has dropped for four successive years. Meanwhile, 14.5 percent of respondents said they were unhappy and a further 37.3 percent expressed neither emotion.  

Fewer Turks are happy than during any year since President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan began governing the country in 2003, when happiness stood at 59.6 percent, the figures showed. The statistics office started the survey the same year.

The four-year decline in happiness has coincided with a failed military coup in late 2016, a currency crisis in 2018, and the introduction of a presidential system of government the same year, after which political pluralism and democracy has suffered. Last year, the Turkish lira fell to successive record lows against the dollar and inflation jumped, curtailing spending power. Unemployment rose.  

People aged between 35 years and 44 years were the least happy segment of society, with 45.4 percent saying they were happy. Meanwhile, 57.7 percent of persons over 65 years said they were happy, the highest proportion among age groups.

Some 43 percent of men expressed happiness compared with 47.8 percent in 2019 and 59.5 percent in 2011, the figures showed. Of the women surveyed, 53.1 percent said they were happy compared with 57 percent in 2019 and 64.8 percent in 2011.