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An Extensive Analysis of GNH Index

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Overall, in 2010, 8.3% of Bhutanese people are ‘deeply happy’ according to GNH; 32.6% are ‘extensively happy’; 48.7% are ‘narrowly happy’, and 10.4% are ‘unhappy’. These four groups correspond to people who have achieved sufficiency in more than 77%, 66-76%, 50-65%, and less than half of the nine domains, respectively. The 2010 GNH Index uses the middle cutoff. Its value is 0.743 and shows that, overall, 40.9% of Bhutanese are identified as happy (meaning they are extensively or deeply happy), and the remaining 59.1% enjoy sufficiency in 56.6% of the domains on average. Recall that 48.7% of these are already narrowly happy, but are considered not-yet-happy for policy purposes. GNH gradients and indices are reported for each of the 20 districts by gender, by rural-urban areas, and, for illustrative purposes, by age and certain occupational categories.

The analysis has two parts: first, the wellbeing of the people who have been identified as ‘happy’ is examined to show the indicators in which they enjoy sufficiency. Some individual examples are presented to show that the ‘happiest’ people are diverse with respect to age, district, occupation, gender, and sufficiency profiles.

Second, the insufficiencies among those not identified as happy (or not-yet- happy) are examined. The GNH Index value can rise either by increasing the percentage of people who are happy, or the percentage in which not- yet-happy people enjoy sufficiency. This analysis clarifies areas where policy interventions or actions by other institutions could increase GNH. All tables used in this report, together with the survey instrument of questions used in the index and statistical analyses, are presented in the extensive appendices.

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A Short Guide to GNH Index

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Bhutan’s GNH Index is a multidimensional measure and it is linked with a set of policy and programme screening tools so that it has practical applications. The GNH index is built from data drawn from periodic surveys which are representative by district, gender, age, rural-urban residence, etc. Representative sampling allows its results to be decomposed at various sub-national levels, and such disaggregated information can be examined and understood more by organizations and citizens for their uses. In the GNH Index, unlike certain concepts of happiness in current western literature, happiness is itself multidimensional – not measured only by subjective well-being, and not focused narrowly on happiness that begins and ends with oneself and is concerned for and with oneself. The pursuit of happiness is collective, though it can be experienced deeply personally. Different people can be happy in spite of their disparate circumstances and the options for diversity must be wide.

The GNH Index is meant to orient the people and the nation towards happiness, primarily by improving the conditions of not- yet-happy people. We can break apart the GNH Index to see where unhappiness is arising from and for whom. For policy action, the GNH Index enables the government and others to increase GNH in two ways.

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Provisional Findings of 2015 GNH Survey

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This report provides preliminary findings of the 2015 GNH Survey while a full report is being prepared. The Centre for Bhutan Studies and GNH Research (CBS) carried out the survey between January and May 2015 with funding from the Royal Government of Bhutan (RGoB) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The survey is designed to collect data on range of indicators on wellbeing and happiness.

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2015 GNH Survey Report

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The Third Gross National Happiness (GNH) Survey was conducted from January to May 2015 with financial support from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Royal Government of Bhutan. The GNH Survey presents a great detail of information on various aspects of Bhutanese people’s lives that are pertinent to wellbeing measurement and analysis. It can be used to generate policy recommendations, as well as to inform different institutions on the achievements and issues in their areas or sectors of operation. The 2015 GNH Survey used a sample of 7,153 people aged 15 years and above. A four-stage stratified random sampling method was adopted for the survey. For the first time, 29.9 percent of the interviews was conducted using tablets [Computer Assisted Personal Interview (CAPI)] with the support from the World Bank.

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