Venezuelans are among the Latin Americans most satisfied with their lives, according to a Gallup poll commissioned by the Inter American Development Bank (IDB). Venezuelans’ satisfaction with their system of public education, health care, work situation, and housing also rank well above average for the region. December 4, 2008 (venezuelanalysis.com)– Venezuelans are among the Latin Americans most satisfied with their lives, according to a Gallup poll commissioned by the Inter American Development Bank (IDB). Venezuelans’ satisfaction with their system of public education, health care, work situation, and housing also rank well above average for the region.
The findings are based on data from the Gallup World Poll, which continually surveys people in 140 countries, together with additional questions commissioned by the IDB on social themes in Latin America and the Caribbean.
With ten being the most satisfied with life and zero the lowest rating possible, Venezuelans’ happiness averaged 6.5, the fourth highest score of a Latin American country. Compared to average scores around the globe, Venezuelans ranked just below the industrialized nations of North America and Western Europe, but higher than all other regions. Although the study showed a tendency for a negative correlation between economic growth and happiness, Venezuela was an exception, as the happiness of its citizens remained high despite experiencing robust economic growth in the last four years.
“Governments that focus their policies exclusively on growth are bound to lose support in the long run if they do not respond to the higher expectations that accompany growth in areas ranging from education and health to income distribution,” explained Eduardo Lora, IDB’s chief economist and coordinator of the study. “The difficulty lies in responding to these demands without killing growth.”
The results of the study seem to indicate that the current Venezuelan government may be heeding that advice. When asked about education, 84 percent of Venezuelans reported being satisfied with their system of public education, the second highest score in the region after Costa Rica, and indicating a greater satisfaction than the average regional score of any part of the world, including the developed nations. Venezuela’s public spending on education tripled between 1998 and 2006, according to statistics from the Venezuelan government.
In contrast, residents of Haiti, the poorest country in the hemisphere, registered the lowest satisfaction with their education system, with just 43% of respondents indicating satisfaction.
On the topic of health care, 72.8 percent of Venezuelans said to be satisfied with the availability of health care services in their area, the third highest ranking in the region and well above the regional average, which stands at 56.9 percent.
Venezuela’s public spending on health care doubled between 2001 and 2006 according to official statistics, and Venezuelans have witnessed the construction of hundreds of hospitals and clinics in recent years.
When it comes to employment, 90.6 percent of Venezuelans reported being satisfied with their work situation, again the third highest percentage of any country in Latin America. Compared to the regional scores, only Western Europeans averaged a greater satisfaction than Venezuelans on this topic.
When asked to assess their personal housing situation, 86 percent of Venezuelan respondents felt satisfied, the fourth highest score in the region, and again ranking higher than any other regional average except Western Europe.
Gallup surveyed more than 40,000 citizens aged 15 years or older from 24 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean between November 2005 and December 2007. The margin of error of the poll varies for each country and ranges from 3.1 percent to 5.1 percent. The study is part of the latest edition of the Development in the Americas series, published by the IDB.