XIV.    Subjective well-being

Subjective perceptions of individuals of their incomes, health, living environments and the like, play a significant role in their lives and can impact their perception of well-being, irrespective of objective conditions such as actual income and physical health status[1]. In the MICS, a set of questions were asked to women age 15-24 years to understand how satisfied this group of young people is in different areas of their lives, such as their family life, friendships, school, current job, health, where they live, how they are treated by others, how they look, and their current income.

Life satisfaction is a measure of an individual’s perceived level of well-being. Understanding young women and young men’s satisfaction in different areas of their lives can help to gain a comprehensive picture of young people’s life situations. A distinction can also be made between life satisfaction and happiness. Happiness is a fleeting emotion that can be affected by numerous factors, including day-to-day factors such as the weather, or a recent death in the family. It is possible for a person to be satisfied with job, income, family life, friends, and other aspects of life, but still be unhappy, or vice versa. In addition to the set of questions on life satisfaction, the survey also asked questions about happiness and the respondents’ perceptions of a better life.

To assist respondents in answering the set of questions on happiness and life satisfaction they were shown a card with smiling faces (and not so smiling faces) that corresponded to the response categories (see the Questionnaires in Appendix F) ‘very satisfied’, ‘somewhat satisfied‘, ‘neither satisfied nor unsatisfied’, ‘somewhat unsatisfied’ and ‘very unsatisfied’. For the question on happiness, the same scale was used, this time ranging from ‘very happy’ to ‘very unhappy’, in the same fashion.

Table SW.1 shows the proportion of young women age 15-24 years, who are very or somewhat satisfied in selected domains. Note that for three domains, satisfaction with school, job and income, the denominators are confined to those who are currently attending school, have a job, and have an income. Of the different domains, young women are the most satisfied with their health (95.5 percent), the way they look (97.4 percent), and their family life (93.1 percent).  Among the domains, young women are the least satisfied with their current income (77.7 percent), with 81.4 percent of young women not having an income at all.

The least satisfaction with family life was observed in Chui oblast, with living environment – in Bishkek city and Naryn oblast. Young women living in the Naryn oblast are also less likely to be satisfied with their treatment by others than those living in other oblasts.



Table SW.1: Domains of life satisfaction

 

Percentage of women age 15-24 years who think that their lives improved during the last one year and those who expect that their lives will get better after one year, Kyrgyzstan, 2014

 
 

Percentage of women age 15-24 years who are very
or somewhat satisfied in selected domains:

Percentage of women age
15-24 years who:

Number of women age 15-24 years

Percentage of women age 15-24 years who are very
 or somewhat satisfied with school

Number of women age 15-24 years attending school

Percentage of women age 15-24 years who are very
 or somewhat satisfied with their job

Number of women age 15-24 years who have a job

Percentage of women age 15-24 years who are very
 or somewhat satisfied with their income

Number of women age 15-24 years who have an income

 

Family life

Friendships

Health

Living environment

Treatment by others

The way they look

Are attending school

Have a job

Have an income

 
 
                                   

Total

93.1

89.8

95.5

92.2

93.2

97.4

54.3

11.6

18.6

2383

91.2

1294

82.8

276

77.7

442

 
                                   

Age

                                 

15-19

92.5

92.1

96.9

94.1

92.7

97.7

79.1

3.8

9.7

1169

92.1

925

(60.8)

45

81.0

114

 

    15-17

92.3

94.5

97.6

94.6

93.0

97.1

94.6

1.1

5.6

694

92.9

657

(*)

7

(100.0)

39

 

    18-19

92.8

88.6

95.8

93.4

92.3

98.7

56.5

7.9

15.8

474

90.1

268

(62.7)

37

71.1

75

 

20-24

93.7

87.5

94.3

90.4

93.7

97.0

30.4

19.0

27.0

1214

88.8

370

87.0

231

76.5

328

 

Region

                                 

Batken

93.5

90.1

92.7

94.5

93.2

94.6

47.7

6.7

5.9

179

90.0

85

(*)

12

(*)

10

 

Djalal-Abad

97.0

85.7

97.6

97.8

92.8

98.4

49.1

4.0

6.8

503

95.0

247

(*)

20

(*)

34

 

Issyk-Kul

94.3

97.6

96.2

96.7

92.8

98.4

65.0

5.4

5.4

136

96.2

88

(*)

7

(*)

7

 

Naryn

94.2

90.6

95.6

85.3

83.0

92.6

62.3

6.5

8.1

83

88.4

52

(*)

5

(*)

7

 

Osh Oblast

94.7

89.9

97.7

92.6

93.0

98.6

45.4

7.5

30.2

510

92.1

231

(85.3)

38

92.6

154

 

Talas

97.2

96.0

79.9

96.8

96.0

91.9

62.7

6.6

17.3

102

90.3

64

(*)

7

(96.7)

18

 

Chui

80.3

92.6

92.4

92.9

94.4

96.2

57.0

22.8

22.8

379

92.9

216

(81.2)

86

(87.1)

86

 

Bishkek City

95.5

86.4

97.9

80.2

94.3

99.1

66.9

22.9

24.9

362

85.0

242

75.7

83

36.1

90

 

Osh City

96.4

92.1

97.4

94.0

93.7

96.8

52.7

13.0

27.8

129

88.5

68

(91.3)

17

92.2

36

 

Area

                                 

Urban

94.5

88.7

96.9

88.8

93.6

98.5

59.9

16.7

21.8

810

88.6

485

80.2

135

62.1

176

 

Rural

92.4

90.3

94.8

94.0

93.0

96.7

51.4

8.9

16.9

1573

92.7

809

85.3

141

87.9

266

 

Marital Status

                                 

Ever married/in union

95.6

85.7

94.8

92.3

93.6

97.6

19.2

12.0

21.1

1018

89.9

195

86.2

122

85.6

214

 

Never married/in union

91.3

92.8

96.1

92.2

92.9

97.2

80.5

11.2

16.7

1365

91.4

1099

80.1

154

70.2

228

 

Education

                                 

None/primary

(*)

(*)

(*)

(*)

(*)

(*)

(*)

(*)

(*)

22

-

0

(*)

8

(*)

8

 

Basic secondary

92.9

88.5

96.6

93.3

93.7

97.5

55.8

5.5

12.2

569

92.4

318

(84.7)

31

87.4

69

 

Complete secondary

94.0

88.5

95.3

93.3

92.4

96.7

37.7

7.0

15.6

880

93.9

332

83.4

61

81.9

138

 

Professional primary/middle

91.7

92.8

92.8

90.1

93.5

98.1

57.4

18.3

24.8

366

91.4

210

82.1

67

70.7

91

 

Higher

94.6

92.3

97.6

92.9

95.5

98.4

79.8

19.9

25.1

545

88.1

435

86.3

108

77.4

137

 

Wealth index quintile

                                 

Poorest

91.7

89.9

94.7

88.2

88.5

95.7

45.9

6.6

11.0

392

89.1

180

(78.0)

26

(76.7)

43

 

Second

95.2

85.2

95.3

94.7

93.2

97.0

47.6

5.2

13.6

472

91.5

224

(*)

25

87.4

64

 

Middle

92.9

91.9

93.7

92.5

93.4

96.0

49.1

10.4

16.6

490

94.9

241

(86.0)

51

81.0

81

 

Fourth

91.8

90.1

96.0

91.4

94.1

98.3

60.1

14.5

26.7

527

92.9

317

75.9

76

82.0

140

 

Richest

93.8

91.6

97.7

93.7

95.8

99.2

66.2

19.6

22.5

503

87.8

333

83.8

98

64.8

113

 

Mother tongue of household head

                               

Kyrgyz

94.1

90.5

95.8

91.2

93.7

97.3

61.1

10.2

17.2

1698

90.7

1038

83.5

174

81.4

292

 

Russian

88.1

91.0

91.6

92.5

92.7

97.2

57.6

32.1

32.4

161

85.8

93

(80.0)

52

(49.6)

52

 

Uzbek

97.0

88.2

98.0

97.8

95.0

97.6

29.8

5.9

15.4

405

98.1

121

(*)

24

92.3

63

 

Other language

71.3

82.6

87.9

88.0

79.9

97.4

36.5

22.8

30.4

117

(95.9)

43

(*)

27

(*)

36

 


In Table SW.2 proportions of women age 15-24 years with overall life satisfaction are shown. “Life satisfaction” is defined as those who are very or somewhat satisfied with their life overall, and is based on a single question which was asked after the life satisfaction questions on all of the above-mentioned domains, with the exception of the question on satisfaction with income, which was asked later.

Nearly 96.1 percent of 15-24 year old women are satisfied with their life overall – the figure ranges from 93.3 percent of women living in the poorest households to 96.7 percent among those living in the richest households, showing a weak relationship between wealth and life satisfaction. These proportions do not vary significantly by marital status and educational level.   

As a summary measure, the average life satisfaction score is also calculated and presented in Table SW.2. The score is simply calculated by averaging the responses to the question on overall life satisfaction, ranging from very satisfied (1) to very unsatisfied (5) (see questionnaires in Appendix F). Therefore, the lower the average score, the higher the life satisfaction levels. 

The table also shows that 96.0 percent of women age 15-24 years are very or somewhat happy. A positive relationship wealth quintiles can also be observed for this indicator; however, there are no clear associations across age or education.

Table SW.2: Overall life satisfaction and happiness

Percentage of women age 15-24 years who think that their lives improved during the last one year and those who expect that their lives will get better after one year, Kyrgyzstan, 2014

 

Percentage of women with overall life satisfaction1

Average life satisfaction score

Percentage of women who are very or somewhat happy 2

Number of women age 15-24 years

         

Total

96.1

1.4

96.0

2383

         

Age

       

15-19

96.4

1.4

96.7

1169

    15-17

96.8

1.4

96.8

694

    18-19

95.9

1.4

96.6

474

20-24

95.8

1.4

95.3

1214

Region

       

Batken

95.0

1.2

91.4

179

Djalal-Abad

96.7

1.4

96.8

503

Issyk-Kul

98.3

1.2

97.4

136

Naryn

92.5

1.4

96.4

83

Osh Oblast

95.9

1.8

95.0

510

Talas

97.9

1.2

97.3

102

Chui

96.4

1.2

96.0

379

Bishkek City

95.6

1.5

97.6

362

Osh City

95.3

1.3

95.7

129

Area

       

Urban

95.4

1.4

97.3

810

Rural

96.4

1.4

95.3

1573

Marital Status

       

Ever married/in union

95.7

1.4

95.4

1018

Never married/in union

96.3

1.4

96.4

1365

Education

       

None/primary

(*)

(*)

(*)

22

Basic secondary

95.8

1.5

95.8

569

Complete secondary

96.1

1.4

96.5

880

Professional primary/middle

96.8

1.3

95.0

366

Higher

97.9

1.3

98.5

545

Wealth index quintile

       

Poorest

93.3

1.5

90.6

392

Second

96.1

1.5

95.8

472

Middle

97.2

1.4

97.0

490

Fourth

96.5

1.4

97.2

527

Richest

96.7

1.3

98.1

503

Mother tongue of household head

     

Kyrgyz

96.1

1.4

96.4

1698

Russian

98.6

1.3

97.5

161

Uzbek

98.5

1.5

97.9

405

Other language

84.6

1.7

81.6

117

1 MICS Indicator 11.1 - Life satisfaction

2 MICS indicator 11.2 - Happiness

In addition to the series of questions on life satisfaction and happiness, respondents were also asked two simple questions on 1) whether they think their life improved during the last one year, and 2) whether they think their life will be better in one year’s time. Such information may contribute to our understanding of desperation that may exist among young people, as well as hopelessness and hopes for the future. Specific combinations of the perceptions during the last one year and expectations for the next one year may be valuable information to understand the general sense of well-being among young people.

In Table SW.3 women’s perceptions of a better life are shown. The proportion of women age 15-24 years who think that their lives improved during the last one year and who expect that their lives will get better after one year, is 70.0 percent. The highest figure (82.6 percent) was observed in the Naryn oblast and the lowest in Bishkek city (50.4 percent).  The proportion of married/in union women age 15-24 years who think that their lives improved during the last one year and who expect that their lives will get better after one year, is somewhat higher than among never married young women.  No differences in the perception of a better life were observed by wealth quintiles.

Table SW.3: Perception of a better life

Percentage of women age 15-24 years who think that their lives improved during the last one year and those who expect that their lives will get better after one year, Kyrgyzstan, 2014

 

Percentage of women who think that their life

Number of women age 15-24 years

Improved during the last one year

Will get better after one year

Both1

         

Total

70.8

95.3

70.0

2383

         

Age

       

15-19

73.3

96.4

72.8

1169

    15-17

72.8

96.8

72.3

694

    18-19

74.1

95.9

73.5

474

20-24

68.3

94.3

67.4

1214

Region

       

Batken

79.8

96.5

79.4

179

Djalal-Abad

77.3

96.6

77.1

503

Issyk-Kul

67.8

94.0

67.8

136

Naryn

83.6

99.0

82.6

83

Osh Oblast

65.9

96.9

65.9

510

Talas

68.7

96.1

67.7

102

Chui

78.0

95.0

75.0

379

Bishkek City

51.3

89.2

50.4

362

Osh City

82.0

98.7

82.0

129

Area

       

Urban

67.4

94.1

66.8

810

Rural

72.5

96.0

71.7

1573

Marital Status

       

Ever married/in union

74.5

95.9

73.4

1018

Never married/in union

68.0

94.9

67.5

1365

Education

       

None/primary

(*)

(*)

(*)

22

Basic general

69.4

96.1

67.3

569

Complete secondary

70.4

94.7

69.8

880

Professional primary/middle

75.1

95.4

74.9

366

Higher

71.0

95.8

70.9

545

Wealth index quintile

       

Poorest

65.7

95.1

65.7

392

Second

72.4

96.4

71.8

472

Middle

72.3

95.2

71.1

490

Fourth

71.7

93.7

70.3

527

Richest

70.7

96.3

70.3

503

Mother tongue of household head

     

Kyrgyz

71.0

94.9

70.2

1698

Russian

70.3

95.5

67.7

161

Uzbek

75.0

97.3

74.7

405

Other language

53.7

94.6

53.7

117

1 MICS indicator 11.3 - Perception of a better life


[1] OECD, 2013. OECD Guidelines on Measuring Subjective Well Being, OECD Publishing, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264191655-en