Korean Schoolkids Still Among Unhappiest in the World

  • By Kim Yeon-ju

    May 02, 2017 10:39

    Korean schoolchildren remain among the unhappiest in the OECD, a survey suggests.

    Korean children ranked a poor 20th among 22 OECD member states with 88 points on the subjective happiness scale, according to a recent survey of 7,343 schoolkids across the country by the Institute for Social Development Studies at Yonsei University.

    The results published on Monday show that only children in Belgium (86 points) and the Czech Republic (81 points) are less happy than those in Korea. That is an improvement from last year, when Korea finished dead last.

    Austria had the happiest schoolkids with 116 points, followed by Spain (115 points), Norway (112 points), and the Netherlands (111 points).

    Students were asked about their health, satisfaction with school life, and satisfaction with their own life using UNICEF child well-being criteria. Only in material happiness did Korean students score high, second after Finland with 115 points. This category is based on the ratio of low-income families and educational materials and book possession.

    But the older they were, the more students experienced sleep deprivation -- 24.4 percent in elementary school, 37.6 percent in middle school, and a staggering 59.4 percent in high school.

    Suicide risk groups, who had experienced suicidal thoughts more than three times, took up 5.6 percent of elementary schoolchildren, 6.5 percent in middle school and 9.1 percent in high school. Asked what it is most necessary for happiness, younger children cited happy homes but older students money.

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