Skip navigation

Article categories: Archive News

Happiness survey results reveal traces from war in Ukraine and coronavirus pandemic

Published: 20.3.2023

In October-November last year, the City of Vaasa conducted a happiness survey aimed at city residents, which assessed their levels of happiness and factors affecting it. The happiness of residents is studied with an annual survey, which city officials do together with Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Markku Ojanen. The survey was now carried out for the third time, and the results showed that the happiness experienced by city residents had decreased when compared to the previous year

Markku Ojanen believes that the results reveal traces from the war in Ukraine and the coronavirus pandemic.
– What attracted attention was the fact that the respondents’ belief that happiness is in their own hands had weakened. Outside threats can have a negative impact on experiencing happiness. The fact that the feeling of safety had the biggest drop compared to previous years also speaks the same language, says Ojanen.

Aches and pains related to illnesses emerged in the survey as the biggest thieves of happiness. Especially in men’s answers, efficiency pressures and continuous financial difficulties were emphasised. Pressures to perform also affected women’s happiness, as did excessive sensitivity to people’s words. According to Ojanen, these are exactly the factors that reduce perceived happiness.

In the survey, the respondents were also able to tell about the methods they use when they are feeling down. According to Ojanen, the means used by the people of Vaasa are very typical.

– Nature, friends and family were emphasised in the answers. Using these and many other methods brought out in the survey have been found to be connected to an increase in perceived happiness, says Ojanen.

– The answers show that mental balance has remained almost unchanged, which is a very important thing, he continues. The negative result is balanced by the fact  that the happiness of those who completed the survey both in 2021 and 2022 remained at the same level.

Survey gives city valuable information for developing services

 In the survey, residents could also give their opinions on the quality of services provided by the City of Vaasa. According to City Mayor Tomas Häyry, the City of Vaasa will analyse the results carefully.

– The results show that the service quality experienced in many areas is still at a good level. However, the answers also show dissatisfaction, so we have to carefully think about where we can improve and in what way the city’s services could better respond to the challenges raised in the survey, says Häyry.

The living environment is thought to be of great importance to people’s happiness. Today, the UN published the annual World Happiness Report and Finland was again ranked as the happiest country in the world, for the sixth time in a row. In Vaasa, the results are viewed with interest.

– It is interesting to see how world events are reflected in the UN report. The work continues in Vaasa, and our clear message is that even when times are difficult, happiness can be found in small everyday things, reminds Häyry.