Monday, May 28, 2012

One in three Nepalis suffering: Gallup report

Nepalis have rated their lives 'worse'.
At least one in three Nepalis rated their lives worse, according to a survey of Gallup that measures the quality of lives worldwide.
Some 31 per cent of the Nepalis rated their lives worse in 2011, the survey that has classified the respondents as 'thriving', 'struggling', or 'suffering' according to how they rate their current and future lives on a ladder scale with steps numbered from zero to 10 based on the Cantril Self-Anchoring Striving Scale that was developed by pioneering social researcher Dr Hadley Cantril.
Cantril Self-Anchoring Striving Scale consists of a ladder with steps numbered from zero at the bottom to 10 at the top. The top of the ladder represents the best possible life for one and the bottom of the ladder represents the worst possible life. Similarly, on which step of the ladder would the respondent feels standing at this time is a ladder-present and on which step one thinks will stand about five
years from now is a ladder-future.
On the basis of the survey, Nepalis not only have poor ratings of their current life situation but also are negative views of the next five years. Based on statistical studies of the ladder-present and ladder-future scale and how each relates to other items and dimensions, Gallup formed three distinct and independent groups: Thriving, Struggling and Suffering.
"'Suffering' means wellbeing that is at high risk," according to the survey. "Nepali respondents have poor ratings of their current life situation and negative views of the next five years with both four and below ratings.
The results are based on face-to-face and telephone interviews with approximately 1,000 adults, aged 15 and older, conducted between April 5 and December 4, 2011, in the 20 countries including Nepal. The respondents were not asked to classify their lives. Those, who rate their present life a seven or higher on the ladder and their life in five years an eight or higher are classified as thriving, while those who rate both dimensions a four or lower are considered suffering.
Respondents whose ratings fall in between are considered struggling. The per cent 'suffering' is less than one per cent in Denmark and 40 per cent in Zimbabwe; the per cent 'suffering' correlates highly with other measures of poverty.
Thriving means wellbeing that is strong, consistent, and progressing, Gallup said, adding that the respondents, those have positive views of their present life situation (above seven) and have positive views of the next five years (above eight). They report significantly fewer health problems, fewer sick days, less worry, stress, sadness, anger, and more happiness, enjoyment, interest, and respect.
Struggling means wellbeing that is moderate or inconsistent. These respondents have moderate views of their present life situation or moderate or negative views of their future. They are either struggling in the present, or expect to struggle in the future. They report more daily stress and worry about money than the 'thriving' respondents, and more than double the amount of sick days. They are more likely to smoke, and are less likely to eat healthy.
Similarly, the South Asians rated their lives worse than most residents in other parts of Asia. At least one in five residents in Afghanistan (30 per cent), India (24 per cent), Sri Lanka (22 per cent), and Pakistan (21 per cent) rated their lives poorly enough to be considered 'suffering'.
Surprisingly, Bangladesh is the only South Asian country where suffering is significantly lower than its regional neighbours, at 10 per cent, according to the survey.
The relatively high levels of suffering in South Asia likely reflect the economic turmoil, war, conflict, domestic terrorism, or separatist movements that have afflicted many of these countries in the past decade. Additionally, most South Asian countries currently have higher levels of unemployment and corruption and lower levels of college education than the rest of Asia.
Relatively low levels of suffering in Bangladesh may run counter to extremely poor economic conditions in the nation. According to 2011 World Bank data, GDP per capita in Bangladesh is the third lowest in Asia, slightly above Nepal and Afghanistan — countries with the highest levels of suffering in Asia, at 31 per cent and 30 per cent, respectively.
Asian countries are vastly diverse in terms of economic conditions, size, population, governance, culture, language, and religion; therefore, each country has a unique path toward improved wellbeing.
Governments should carefully examine the root causes of suffering and create solutions for their citizens. Although there is no one-size-fits-all solution, policymakers cannot ignore some important building blocks of a thriving population: strong governance, available employment, satisfactory income levels, good health, and available education.
The conceptual labels were chosen based on the empirical relationships established during various iterations of research, and professional judgment. The percentage of respondents that fall into each category correlates with other country-level characteristics, providing evidence of the construct validity of the categories (Gallup, 2009).
For instance, the percentage 'thriving' across countries has a reliability of .81 and correlates highly with Per-Capita GDP (PPP), Health Expenditures Per Capita, the Human Development Index Ranking from the UN, and Citizen Engagement.

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