Gallup has just released what it calls the inaugural Gallup-Healthways Global Well-Being Index (2013). Positioned as a “global barometer of individuals’ perceptions of their well-being”, the research measures the perceptions of 133,000 individuals spread across 135 countries. India ranks 71 in the list of 135 countries.
The well-being index is organized into five elements:
- Purpose: liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals
- Social: having supportive relationships and love in your life
- Financial: managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security
- Community: liking where you live, feeling safe, and having pride in your community
- Physical: having good health and enough energy to get things done daily
In analyzing the results of the index, Gallup classifies responses as “thriving” (well-being that is strong and consistent), “struggling” (well-being that is moderate or inconsistent), or “suffering” (well-being that is low and inconsistent).
This chart shows the percentage of Indians think that they are thriving in each of the five elements that the research measures, shown against percentage of people in South Asia and in the world who think the same.
The chart depicts percentage of people who think they are thriving
This just challenges some of the assumptions that we have about ourselves. Lets leave the two elements where India’s perception compares well with global/regional perception and focus on the three where it differs significantly.
- Social: We always take pride in our strong family life. But the findings challenge that as far lower Indians think they are thriving in having “supporting relationships” and “love” in their lives as compared to even our neighbors.
- Financial: Once again, Indians have a far lower perception about their financial well-being than the world and their neighbors. But that is not surprising considering this survey was conducted in the thick of the “policy paralysis” and economic slowdown.
- Community: This also surprises, though pleasantly. Despite all the government bashing that we do and the extraordinary self criticism of our society that we indulge in, we have the best perception of our well-being where government and society have a role to play. We like where we live more than others; we feel safe where we live more than than others; and we have more pride in our community than others have in theirs.