Civil servants are the most content with their lives, according to a poll by the Hyundai Research Institute.
The institute found that civil servants' happiness index showed the highest reading among all occupational groups at 57.9. It polled 1,014 adults across the country late last year.
The civil servants' happiness index was up 7.6 points from six months earlier. The next happiest were specialized professionals with 55.8.
A reading over 50 means happy people outnumber unhappy people. Self-employed businesspeople were the least content at 34.2, nearly on a par with the unemployed (32.8). The index for self-employed people dropped 3.4 points from an earlier survey.
The overall economic happiness index stood at 40.4 in the second half of 2012, down 0.8 from the first half of the year mainly due to anxieties about commodity prices and the economic downturn as well as to dissatisfaction with income inequality, the institute said.
The higher the income or academic background, the more content people are. Unmarried people (43.4) are happier than married people (39.7).
By region, people in North Chungcheong Province (45.4) and Jeju (45.2) are more financially content, while those in Gwangju (36.1), Seoul (36.8) and South Chungcheong Province (36.9) are below average.
Cho Ho-jung of the institute said, "Unmarried professional women in their 20s with an undergraduate or higher degree and a high income are the most content."
In contrast, self-employed, low-income earners over 60 with a low academic background are the least content.