Federal Territories named happiest state in 2021, survey shows

The survey also found that Malaysia recorded a MHI of 6.48 last year which is at the ‘happy’ category


THE Malaysia Happiness Index (MHI) 2021 revealed that the Federal Territories of Labuan, Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur (KL) as the happiest state in the country last year.

The survey conducted by the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DoSM) showed that Labuan recorded the highest MHI score of 9.29 out of 10 at a “very happy” level.

This was followed by KL (7.77) and Putrajaya (7.28), both at a “happy” level.

Chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin explained that the MHI is calculated based on 13 components, namely family, housing and environment, social participation, health, communication facilities, education, working life, income, public safety, time use, religion and spiritual, culture and emotional experience.

Scores between 0 and 2 are in the “very unhappy” category, while those of 2.01 to 4 are categorised as “unhappy”, 4.01 to 6 are “moderately happy”, 6.01 to 8 are “happy” and 8.01 to 10 are “very happy”.  

“This measurement shows that the higher the score value obtained, the better the level of happiness.  

“The main reference for the implementation of this survey is based on the international manuals which include the World Happiness Report, Human Development Index (HDI) and the OECD Guidelines on Measuring Subjective Wellbeing,” he said during the launch of the report in Putrajaya today.

Meanwhile, the survey also found that Malaysia recorded a MHI of 6.48 out of 10 in 2021, with a highest index score in the family component which was 7.23, followed by the religion and spiritual component (7.21) and health (6.75).

Mohd Uzir said overall, all 13 components were at a happy level with a score of 6.04 to 7.23.

On analysis by gender, the survey noted that females were happier by recording a higher score of 6.49 than males (6.46).  

There were nine out of 13 MHI components of which females scored higher than males namely family (7.25), social participation (6.46), health (6.78), communication facilities (6.14), education (6.35), income (6.07), time use (6.74), religion and spiritual (7.26), and culture (6.25).  

The remaining three components namely working life (6.31), public safety (6.28) and emotional experience (6.16) showed males’ happiness index scores were higher than females.  

On analysis by ethnic and age group, the happiness index scores for all ethnic groups were at a happy level with score value between 6.28 to 6.5.  

The highest index score for Bumiputera was the religion and spiritual component which was 7.33, while the highest index score for the Chinese and Indians was the family component which recorded a score of 7.32 and 7.15, respectively.  

The happiness index score by age group showed that all age groups were at a happy level and the highest index score was for the 55-59 years old age group (6.51).  

Meanwhile, on analysis by educational attainment and marital status, the highest happiness index score was among tertiary education (6.58), followed by primary education (6.53), secondary education (6.41) and no formal education (6.31).  

The results indicate that all educational attainments were at a happy level.  

Meanwhile, the index score for all marital status was at a happy level with the lowest score recorded by widows (6.40).  

In terms of the HDI aspects, Malaysia scored 0.804 which indicates that the country is in the high human development category, positioning at 61 out of 186 countries and territories.

Mohd Uzir concluded that Malaysians are at a happy level despite the country facing challenges and uncertainties from the Covid-19 pandemic and economic crisis last year.  

However, he said this scenario might be different in future studies.  

“The survey findings showed that there is no significant gap between strata, ethnic, age group, gender, educational attainment and marital status in measuring the level of happiness in Malaysia,” he noted.