Indians are, by and large, happy with their families. That’s a cheerful headline but the fine print tells a more nuanced story. Residents of only two cities, Jaipur and Lucknow, are unequivocally happy with their families.
Residents of seven others are 'somewhat happy' on this count. Mumbai is the only metro in this list. And people living in seven others — including those in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata — admit that their happiness with their families is 'under stress'.
The HT-MaRS Happiness Survey, the most definitive and extensive such initiative ever undertaken in India, measured 'happiness with family' as the weighted average of five components — happiness with spouse, happiness with children, happiness with parents, happiness with in-laws and quality time with family.
An analysis of the individual city indices indicates that Mumbai and Delhi have markedly similar views on spouses, parents and children. They are “happy” with both parents and children and only “somewhat happy” with spouses.
But when it comes to in-laws, the average Mumbaikar says his “happiness is under stress”. Delhiites go a step further and admit that they are “unhappy” with their in-laws. Mind you, like any index, this one, too, is a statistically derived finding and indicates a trend. It does not mean every Delhiite is unhappy with his/her in-laws. Interestingly, females are slightly happier with their in-laws than males. A caveat: both say their happiness on this count is “under stress”.
Our survey indicates that the longer you stay married, the less happy you are likely to be with your spouse. Married respondents in the 26-35 years age group have a “happiness with spouse” index score of 794 (just short of an unqualified happy rating). The index falls as the age profile rises (769 for the 36-45 group, 759 for the 46-60 group and 746 for the 60+ group). The saying “love is blind but marriage is the eye-opener” does seem to have some basis in truth.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, it isn’t Mumbai residents who lack quality time with their families. The Maximum City ranks highest among the metros on this count, while Delhi comes in at a poor #13 overall.
Hindustan Times commissioned market research agency MaRS to conduct this survey among 5,400 people in 16 state capitals and major cities in India. The sampling methodology ensured an equal mix of males and females and the respondents were representative of the selected cities. All respondents were chosen from SEC A and SEC B households. The answers were collated and the happiness index calculated using a statistically valid method.
What the numbers mean
900+ Extremely happy
700-799 Somewhat happy
600-699 Happiness under strain
599 or below Unhappy