Taiwan chooses society, material well-being in meaning of life survey

San Francisco, Nov. 25 (CNA) Taiwan ranked “society” and “material well-being” as the top sources of meaning in life, while 14 of the 17 advanced economies polled placed “family” first, according to a recent survey released by the Pew Research Center.

Almost 19,000 adults across 17 advanced economies were asked an open-ended question about the meaning of life. People in Taiwan chose “society” as the number one factor, followed by material well-being, family, freedom and hobbies.

Some respondents in Taiwan mentioned their satisfaction with the country’s political system, according to the survey, with one woman saying she was “fortunate to live in Taiwan, especially in the areas of public health, democracy, rule of law and human rights, because it is very free.”

The survey cited two other women in Taiwan as emphasizing ease of living on the island: “Food, clothing, housing, and transportation are all convenient. Life is safe and tranquil,” and “There are many convenience stores in Taiwan … The public health insurance system is good; medical services are convenient.”

According to the survey, some respondents in Taiwan mentioned the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic with one woman listing the island’s “stable economy, well-controlled COVID-19 pandemic, [and] easy access to medical care.”

The survey found Taiwan was one of few societies — the others also being in the Asia-Pacific region — where references to COVID-19 did not tend to coincide with negativity. Instead, most people in Taiwan praised how well their government has handled the pandemic, the survey showed.

In addition to Taiwan, the other 16 advanced economies in the survey were Canada, Belgium, Spain, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Greece, France, Sweden, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Japan, the United Kingdom, South Korea and the United States, according to the research center.

Among the 17 economies, 14 chose family as the top source of meaning in life, Pew Research said.

In Australia, New Zealand and Greece, more than 50 percent of respondents listed family as the top source of meaning in life and 49 percent in the U.S. agreed, the survey showed.

“Highlighting their relationships with parents, siblings, children and grandchildren, people frequently mention quality time spent with their kinfolk, the pride they get from the accomplishments of their relatives and even the desire to live a life that leaves an improved world for their offspring,” the survey said.

In Taiwan, only 15 percent of respondents listed family first and only 16 percent in South Korea, the survey indicated.

In South Korea, material well-being was the top source of meaning in life, ahead of health and family, according to the survey.

According to the survey, female respondents tended to choose family more than their male respondents, while those with higher educational levels and better paying jobs also valued family more.

(By Chou Shih-hui and Frances Huang)


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