Are Malaysians happier than most people on earth? Ipsos latest poll suggests we are

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, March 23 — Malaysians generally are a happy bunch.

Southeast Asian countries were found to be the happiest in the world with Malaysia high up in the ranking that surveyed happiness among 30 countries, surpassing richer nations like Japan, South Korea and Singapore, according to a poll by marketing research firm Ipsos.

Up to 77 per cent of Malaysian respondents said they are happy in the company's annual 2024 global happiness index, a score that surpasses the global average. The 30-country average was 71 per cent.

The nation of 32 million was fourth on the list of Asian countries that are the happiest. India, still one of the world's poorest countries, took the top spot. Malaysia was below Indonesia which came in second and Thailand at third.

“Malaysia has shown a steady increase in happiness level from 2020 to 2023, and surpassed the global level in 2024, indicating a significant improvement in overall happiness among Malaysians,” Atticus Poon, research manager of Ipsos Public Affairs, said about the findings released in conjunction with International Happiness Day.

“Personal relationships, connection to nature, and education attainment are the top contributors to life happiness for many people. Malaysians, in particular, derived more satisfaction from their familial relationship as compared to other countries.”

Malaysia also scored above the global average when it comes to happiness about their sex life, at 63 per cent.

Japan and South Korea, two of Asia's richest economies, scored lower in these aspects. Still, more than 60 per cent of respondents from the two respective countries said they were happy with their personal relationships, both with their children and spouses.

Japanese respondents were also among the least to say they are happy with their level of education, at just 51 per cent compared to Malaysia's 74 per cent. Spain scored the highest, at 88 per cent.

Just 34 per cent of Japanese respondents said they are happy with their sex lives.

Singapore, Malaysia's richer southern neighbour, was fifth in the ranking, with 74 per cent of Singaporeans indicating they are happy.

But when it comes to social-political happiness, only 42 per cent of Malaysians said they are happy although the score was still higher than the global average of 39 per cent. Indians were the most content with their social-political situation, scoring an average of 76 per cent.

Half of Malaysian respondents said they are happy about the country's economy, also surpassing the global average of 40 per cent.

“While people around the world found that the economic and socio-political situations in their countries are less satisfying, Malaysians are generally more satisfied than the global average,” Poon said.

“As we celebrate the International Day of Happiness, it is crucial to remember to value and nurture the elements that contribute to our happiness.”