Turkish people now happier, according to new study

April 18, 2011, Monday/ 17:13:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Turks are happier than they were five years ago, according to the results of the sixth Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS) research center survey, published recently.

The Turkey Profile study, conducted every half-decade and which includes participants above the age of 15 from rural and urban Turkey across 24 provinces, revealed that Turkish society was shifting toward a constitution blending tradition with modernity. With 2,072 participants, 50.1 percent male and 49.9 percent female, the survey revealed that even though Turks experienced difficulty in paying their debts, they were, in general, happy.

Findings indicate that while 72.8 percent of Turks surveyed described themselves as feeling happy in the previous TNS survey of 2005, this figure increased to 87.6 percent.

TNS General Director Arzu Kumar says these results indicate that Turks are looking at the future with more hope, as a result of Turkey becoming a more stable nation in the past few years. “On the other hand, we can also connect this to life becoming easier and more practical with new means of consumption, and the approach of gratitude and thanks that is inherent in our cultural makeup,” she said.

According to the research, Turks are keeping up with technology, while at the same time not severing their connections to traditional values and conservatism. Results reveal that Turks are also starting to pay more attention to physical appearance, and men are shifting from growing moustaches to growing beards. In consideration of the results, Kumar states that the significant social change over the past 30 years in the nation has engendered a new picture of Turkey which needs to be examined. “Consumption has increased rapidly. The picture is fragmental and filled with unknowns. The research results present the colorful profile of Turkey from a wide perspective, both in terms of content as well as temporally. While Turkish society is fearlessly embracing innovations, it is holding fast to tradition and taking pleasure in this. That is, we are talking about a colorful picture merging modernism with tradition. More of us now have a mobile phone, we are more able to connect to and use the Internet, when compared with previous years, and we are consuming more take-away food,” she said.

“While we are changing with the new offerings of modernity, we have aspects that are unchanging. We can’t abandon our breakfast habit, and, furthermore, the products we have at this meal and their diversity are eternal. We are sitting at the ‘table’ more when eating our meals, but have still not forsaken eating on the floor. Yet there is no remarkable change over the years in our views on flirting before marriage,” Kumar added.

Research also shows that despite the fact that Turks have been more careful about their diet in the past few years, the average person has gained weight. The average weight of women in the 2005 survey was 63.4 kilograms, compared to 65.1 kilograms today. Men, too, have gained weight, from 71.8 kilograms up to 72.8. As for family size, the average number of children per family is 2.5. In the last survey, the ideal of two children per family was rated at 56.7 percent and three children as 26.4 percent; five years later the statistics stand at 50.8 percent for two children and 30.9 percent for three. This suggests that Prime Minster Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s calls for “at least three children” have proven effective.

Most of the research participants (36.6 percent) were primary school graduates and 64.8 percent were unemployed.

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