Cambodia has the dubious distinction of coming in third place in a survey released this week purporting to measure countries’ suffering.
In the well-being poll compiled by US research company Gallup, more than a third of Cambodian respondents rated their quality of life as abysmally low, more than in Haiti, Syria and Afghanistan.
According to telephone and face-to-face interviews with about 1,000 adults per country, the survey found 63 per cent of Cambodian respondents believe they are struggling, 34 per cent say they are suffering, and only four per cent qualified themselves as “thriving”.
The survey found more than a quarter of respondents globally self-identified as suffering.
“Across countries, measures of well-being are highly related to income, education levels, and reported disease conditions,” the report states. “Individuals who are thriving have fewer disease conditions, fewer sick days, and higher incomes; are more highly educated; and have better work environments.”
Gallup’s survey is not the only happiness index in which Cambodia languishes. In the 2013 UN World Happiness report, Cambodia ranked 140th, below Liberia, Uganda and Myanmar.
Still, Gallup’s results are not without critics.
“I do not believe that the poll is accurate; they should not just interview a small group of people and make judgments on the whole country,” said Press and Quick Reaction Unit spokesman Ek Tha. “This country has gone through more than 30 years of civil war . . . If you look at economic growth and social development, every year Cambodia is making gains.”