• wethepeopleofhk

Hong Kong ranked 114/173 in 'World Happiness Report 2020'

Updated: Dec 8, 2020

World Happiness Report (WHR) 2020

See graphics below - Hong Kong (HK) as a city is ranked only 114 out of 173 cities!

The ranking methodology is the people of the cities rank their city!

Ask any HK protester and they would likely rank it even LOWER because daily our human rights are disappearing!

Chapter 3: Cities and Happiness: A Global Ranking and Analysis


About 4.2 billion people, more than half of the world's population (55.3 per cent), are living in urban areas today. By 2045, this figure is estimated to increase by 1.5 times, to more than six billion.[1] There were 371 cities with more than one million inhabitants at the turn of the century in 2000. In 2018, there were 548, and in 2030, a projected 706 cities will have at least one million inhabitants. During the same time, the number of so-called mega cities – cities that have more than ten million inhabitants, most of which are located in the Global South – is expected to increase from 33 to 43, with the fastest growth in Asia and Africa. Today, Tokyo (37.4 million), New Delhi (28.5 million), and Shanghai (25.6 million inhabitants) are the most populous cities worldwide.[2]

Cities are economic powerhouses: more than 80 per cent of worldwide GDP is generated within their boundaries.[3] They allow for an efficient division of labour, bringing with them agglomeration and productivity benefits, new ideas and innovations, and hence higher incomes and living standards. They often outperform their countries in terms of economic growth.[4] City dwellers are often younger, more educated, and more liberal than their rural counterparts. They are more likely to be in professional and service jobs, and less likely to have kids. With urbanisation set to increase, by 2050, seven in ten people worldwide will be city dwellers.

Rapid urbanisation, however, also imposes challenges: a lack of affordable housing results in nearly one billion urban poor living in informal settlements at the urban periphery, vulnerable and often exposed to criminal activity. A lack of public transport infrastructure results in congestion and often hazardous pollution levels in inner cities. By one estimate, in 2016, 90 per cent of city dwellers have been breathing unsafe air, resulting in 4.2 million deaths due to ambient air pollution.[5] Cities account for about two-thirds of the world's energy consumption and for more than 70 per cent of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. Urban sprawl and inefficient land use contribute to biodiversity loss.[6] Rapid urbanisation also puts pressure on public open spaces such as parks and urban green areas, which provide space for social interaction and important ecosystem services.[7][8]

Given the speed and scale of urbanisation, with all its benefits and challenges, how do city dwellers fare, on balance, when it comes to their subjective well-being? How did their well-being change over time? Which cities around the world promote a higher well-being amongst their inhabitants than others, conditional on the same development level? And how does well-being and well-being inequality within cities relate to that within countries? This chapter explores these questions, by providing the first global ranking of cities based on their residents' self-reported well-being.

Our ranking is fundamentally different from existing rankings of cities in terms of quality of life, such as The Economist's Global Liveability Index, which ranks cities according to a summary score constructed from qualitative and quantitative indicators across five broad domains.[9] Rather than relying on a list of factors that researchers consider relevant, our ranking relies on city residents' self-reports of how they themselves evaluate the quality of their lives. In doing so, it emancipates respondents to consider and weigh for themselves which factors – observable or unobservable to researchers – they feel matter most to them. Arguably, this bottom-up approach gives a direct voice to the population as opposed to the more top-down approach of deciding ex-ante what ought to matter for the well-being of city residents. Importantly, leveraging well-being survey responses is an approach that allows us to get a more holistic grip on the drivers of happiness. In fact, employing well-being surveys allows to figure out the relative importance of different domains in shaping well-being, thus providing evidence-based guidance for policymakers on how to optimize the well-being of their populations.

The importance of cities for global development has long been recognised in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities, which includes targets with clear relevance for citizens' life satisfaction, such as strengthening public transport systems to reduce congestion and commuting times,[10] reducing ambient air pollution,[11] and improving access to green and public open spaces[12] for all citizens.[13][14] Our chapter aims to make an important contribution to benchmarking progress towards this goal and its targets in an integrated fashion by studying the current state of how cities are actually doing when it comes to their citizens' subjective well-being and, in doing so, by casting an anchor for continuous future benchmarking.

Caged housing in Hong Kong

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