Social Climate

Career, love-life, happiness

/ 05:12 AM February 17, 2018

The SWS media release for Valentine’s Day was “Fourth Quarter 2017 Social Weather Survey: 59% of Pinoys would choose career over love life; 57% are very happy with their love lives” (www.sws.org.ph, 2/13/18).

It was based on four successive survey questions, the first being preference between love-life and career, if forced to choose. Three out of every five respondents chose Career.


The second question was whether one could succeed at both, to which 58 percent said Definitely Possible, 26 percent said Somewhat Possible, 11 percent said either Somewhat or Definitely Impossible, and 8 percent were undecided.

The third was on whether the respondent had been successful in both, to which 66 percent said Yes.


The fourth was about the quality of the respondent’s love-life, to which 57 percent said it was Very happy, 29 percent said it Could be happier, and 14 percent said they had No love life.

This modest module of four items generated a fairly detailed report of six pages and 12 charts, by tabulating the data across the items themselves, and relating them to the gender, age and civil status of the respondents.

The importance of career over love-life is strong among singles, men or women, as well as among women with live-in partners. (The term “singles” includes the never married, the separated, and the widowed.) On the other hand, among married men and women, and men with live-in partners, career and love-life are almost equally important.

SWS has surveyed personal assessment of love-life nine times during 2002-17. Those with a Very Happy Love-life have been between 46 percent and 59 percent; their current leaning toward career is 54 percent, or only a slight majority. They are the most successful in career and love together.

Those with No Love-life have been between 9 and 14 percent; their current leaning toward career is a huge 81 percent, which boosts the average.

Happiness with Life in general. This column adds to the SWS Valentine Report by looking at the connection between having a happy love-life in particular and being happy with life in general, which was yet another item in the same Fourth Quarter 2017 survey that contained the Valentine items.

In 2017Q4, Filipino adults were divided into 57 percent Very Happy, 37 percent Fairly Happy, and 6 percent Unhappy with life in general. (The term Unhappy adds up Not Very Happy and Not At All Happy.) This implies a Net Happy with Life score of 57 – 6 = +51 for the Philippines for that quarter. (See “What ‘Imperial Manila’?”, Opinion, 2/10/18, which defines Net Happy with Life, and cites averages for the full year 2017, rather than just the final quarter.)


Of those with a Very Happy Love-life, 69 percent were Very Happy and only 3 percent were Unhappy, with life in general, giving a Net Happy of +61.

On the other hand, of those whose Love-life Could Be Happier, only 40 percent were Very Happy, while 7 percent were Unhappy, with life in general, giving a Net Happy of +33.

However, of those with No Love-life, 43 percent were Very Happy and 14 percent were Unhappy, with life in general, for a Net Happy of only +29.

Everyone knows that having a love-life, and being happy in it, improves happiness in life as a whole. But it takes survey research to get the numbers showing by how much happiness improves.

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TAGS: career, happiness, Inquirer Opinion, Love. Life, Social Climate, Valentine’s Day
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