Amid soaring inflation and declining purchasing power that are wreaking havoc on the lives of Turks, the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) has painted a rosy picture with its recent data on the life satisfaction level of the country’s people, showing that 49.3 percent say they’re happy.
TurkStat released the results of its “Life Satisfaction Survey” for the year 2021 on Thursday at a time of growing dissatisfaction due to a wide range of problems related to the country’s economy, politics and judicial system.
According to the survey, which was conducted on people over the age of 18, only 16.6 percent describe themselves as unhappy, which marks a 2.1 percent increase compared to the results of the same survey in 2020. The survey’s results also showed a 1.1 percent increase in the number of people who say they’re happy.
Turkey’s women are happier than its men, with 54.6 percent feeling happy compared to 43.9 among men.
As a country with a poor record on women’s rights and gender equality in addition to widespread domestic violence, the survey’s results came as a surprise to many.
According to an annual report from The We Will Stop Femicide Platform, there were 280 cases of femicide and 217 women died under suspicious circumstances in Turkey in 2021.
Moreover, just as they were the happiest age group in 2020, people 65 and over were again the happiest in 2021, with 56.2 percent feeling happy, compared to 57.7 percent in 2020.
TurkStat data showed that family is the greatest source of happiness for most people in the country, with 67.7 percent saying it is their family that gives them the greatest happiness.
The numbers came at a time when the country’s inflation reached nearly 50 percent in January, a two-decade high that further cut people’s purchasing power.
The Turkish lira lost 44 percent of its value against the dollar in 2021.
Turkey’s financial troubles have increased since the country was hit by the pandemic, with a sudden surge in the number of suicides and closed businesses.
TurkStat has been receiving growing criticism from opposition parties and government skeptics for not releasing accurate figures for important statistics such as inflation and unemployment, instead presenting statistics that fail to reflect the market realities. The institute is accused of manipulating the numbers in order to mask the scale of the country’s economic deterioration.