In Pursuit of Happiness

Hindustan Times (New Delhi, India), January 14, 2013 | Go to article overview

In Pursuit of Happiness


India, Jan. 12 -- How happy is urban India with The Big Three: health, money and sex life? The findings of the comprehensive, path-breaking 16-city HT-MaRS Happiness Survey are likely to take you by surprise.

Methodology

The survey was carried out by market research agency MaRS among 5,400 people, an equal number of men and women, in 16 state capitals and major cities in India. The sampling methodology ensured that the respondents were

representative of the cities. All respondents were chosen from SEC A and SEC B households. The happiness index was measured by asking a simple question for each of the three aspects:

Money: How happy are you with the amount of money that you have?

Sex life: How happy are you with your sex life?

Health: Given your age, family history, medical history and other environmental factors, how happy do you think you are with your health?

Happiness Scale

900 or more: Extremely happy

800-900: Happy

700-800: Somewhat happy

600-700: Happiness under strain

600 or below: Unhappy

A variety of things make people happy. There's no magic formula. It could be a friend, a holiday, a job or something as mundane as the weather. And to measure just how happy people are is no easy feat.

So in an attempt to quantify the unquantifiable and figure out how happy India is, we decided to ask direct questions. For this, the Hindustan Times commissioned market research agency MaRS to carry out the HT-MaRS Happiness Survey. In November and December last year, more than 5,000 people across 16 cities and all age groups were asked to rate their happiness with different aspects of their lives on a scale of 1 to 10. We then multiplied their scores by 100 for a three-digit Happiness Index - a number that tells you not just how happy one city is, but how it compares with other cities in India when posed the same questions.

The survey quizzed people on pretty much every aspect of their lives. But today, in Brunch, we focus on The Big Three: Health, Money and Sex - all the things that make up a good life, all the things that you love about Brunch. Keep in mind that our survey didn't ask people how healthy they were, how much money they had, or how many times they indulged in sexual activities. We merely wanted to know how happy they were with their well-being, financial situation and sex life. Over the next seven days, you'll see the rest of the survey unfold in the daily edition of the Hindustan Times. But for now, curl up with all our findings and surprising discoveries about health, money and sex.

Smaller cities are the place to be

Which three cities are the happiest with their health? Indore (happiness index: 805), Jaipur (802) and Patna (800). And which turned out to be the happiest with the money they possess? Ahmedabad (782), Jaipur (770) and Chandigarh (768). This could be because these cities (despite not being major metropolises) have seen major economic growth recently. Businesses and industries are flourishing in Ahmedabad. Tourism is thriving in Jaipur and prosperous Chandigarh has the third highest per capita income in the country.

Where do you think people are happiest with their sex lives? No, not Delhi (it turned out to the least happy - with a happiness index of only 664). Smaller cities scored again: Indore, Patna and Ahmedabad.

So what's making our smaller cities happier than our big ones? Siddharth Chowdhury, author of the novel Patna Roughcut, says it's the easier pace of life in a smaller city. Everybody knows everybody, so anything out of line can spread like wildfire. It forces you to be on your best behaviour. "A bigger city [like Delhi or Mumbai] can be an impersonal place," he says. "People are always living on the edge."

Any stressed out city dweller will tell you that urban stress affects your well-being. "The level of violence, crime and governance in a city impact not just your health but also your ability to be happy," says Dr Priya Balu, a senior public health specialist with Delhi's Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI). …

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