Sunday | 01 December, 2013

Happiness in Azerbaijan

Happiness is one of many indicators of well-being. On July 9, 2011 the General Assembly of the UN adopted a resolution which declared, “happiness as a universal goal and aspiration [that] embodies the spirit of the Millennium Development Goals”. In response, the UN organized a high level meeting on happiness in April 2012, and in 2013 the UN declared March 20th as the International Day of Happiness. To enhance the connection between happiness and sustainable development, the UN supported the publication of the World Happiness Report in September 2013. The report measured happiness in 156 countries by examining six variables: GDP per capita, life expectancy, social support, perceptions of corruption, prevalence of generosity, and the freedom to make life choices. The report ranks Azerbaijan 116th out of 156 countries, and notes that Azerbaijan has had a negative shift between 2005-2007 and 2010-2012. 
                                        Comparing Happiness: 2005–07 and 2010–12. World Happiness Report 2013.
The annual Caucasus Barometer(CB) asks, “How happy would you say you are?” on a 1 to 5 scale where 1 means extremely unhappy and 5 means extremely happy. The data shows that the level of reported happiness in Azerbaijan has gradually increased from 2010 to 2012, yet it remains lower than in Armenia and Georgia.

CRRC-Azerbaijan's 2012 survey on Social Capital, Media, and Gender asked the same question and showed that 19% of Azerbaijanis between 18 and 35 years old say they are extremely happy relative to those over 56 years old who say the same (9%).

Settlement type also matters. More people in the capital and urban areas say they feel happy -points 4 and 5 combined  (62% and 65%, respectively) compared to those who live in rural areas who say the same (46%).

The correlation between education and happiness can be contentious. British economist and co-editor of the World Happiness Report, Richard Layards, excluded education from the list of factors that might have an effect on happiness. However, data from the Social Capital, Media, and Gender survey shows that there is a strong connection between education and happiness. 93% of people with a Master's degree and above are more likely to describe themselves as happy in Azerbaijan, and this percentage declines as the level of education declines.

For more data on happiness in Azerbaijan please visit the CRRC dataset.