The first Happiness Survey was published in June 2014, long before Dubai and the UAE made it a critical measure of government and progress.
We launched the UAE's first Happiness Survey because we realised that looking at education in isolation was no help in understanding the performance as a whole of schools within the UAE. In terms of a child's progress family matters as much if not more than school, and that means thinking about where mum and dad are too - in body and mind.
Happiness infects everyone. It build healthier, more balanced children, who grow up within a healthier, happier society. If WhichSchoolAdvisor.com wanted therefore to truly be able to look at education within the UAE with the biggest lens, as well as looking at the performance of schools, we also had to take a look, objectively, at the performance of the UAE too.
This survey asks a lot more questions than just about happiness. We do that because we're looking for the reasons that make us happy, so we can suggest doing more of it. We also look for the reasons we may not be happy, to suggest perhaps less of it. Happiness itself is fleeting, but the conditions in which it can emerge are not: Safety, security, the sense of opportunity, progress, fairness - Maslow's heirarchy of needs building up to self-actualisation.
We have let almost three years slip since the last survey. We're a small team and we wanted to measure other things too... However with just two and a half years to go to Expo 2020, and with the UAE in a period of considerable transition, we thought now was the right time to take the pulse of the nation again and measure where we are on the journey. Our aim going forward is to try to repeat the exercise ever 12 months to get a better sense of just how the World's fair impacts the emirates year on year until the doors of the hugely anticipated event finally open...
The WhichSchoolAdvisor.com Happiness Survey was launched in January 2018, and so far has had 2200 individual responses from across the UAE.
To be completely reflective of UAE society its respondents would need to mirror it exactly. It does not.
We are overweight, unsurprisingly given our audience, on families, and we do not hit the poorest respondents of UAE society - labourers. Almost one in three respondents represents a household containing two children.
The survey is also underweight on Emiratis and slightly less so Arab Nationals. Being a survey conducted in English, and conducted by a site that focuses on private schooling, again this is no surprise. Nationals, almost half of whom send their children to government schools, make up about 11% of the population of the UAE, but just under 2 percent of respondents to this survey.
We have very few respondents outside the ages 25-64, with the most respondents aged between 35 and 44. According to our survey at least the expatriate population in the UAE is getting a little older. 25-34 year olds have fallen as a percentage of respondents, the 35-44 year old group has increased relatively as a percentage.
Household income is very evenly spread from under 7,000 AED a month, up to 75,000 AED a month. From that point however the number of respondents drops sharply, but households earning in excess of 150,000 AED a month still make a significant contribution to the results.
Our biggest respondents in terms of nationality are Indian, accounting for almost one in four respondents. This is actually up from one in five respondents in 2014. The second largest group, in both years, comes from the UK (the largest Western expat group living in the UAE by some margin), followed by Arab Nationals and then Filipinos (the largest expat group from the Far East).
Put this together and you have a survey that can be said to be reflective of mid- to upper-middle class families and workers living in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. This is effectively the WhichSchoolAdvisor.com audience - mobile, international, globally oriented workers and their families.
The focus on a more affluent, and international audience means our respondents are more able to choose where they live, based on their sense of well being... For the UAE, which wants to maintain a brain drain that has been very much in reverse, this audience really matters.
Happiness 2018 - Four years on, are we still as happy?
Happiness 2018, The Infographic - Key Stats
Happiness 2018: How and Why We Did This Survey
Happiness 2018: What You Choose the UAE
Happiness 2018: Who are the Happiest People in the UAE
Happiness 2018: Property Matters
Happiness 2018: Expo 2020 and Happiness
Happiness 2018: Growing up in the UAE
Happiness 2018: The Changing Face of Expats
Happiness 2018: In Search of the Dolce Vita
Happiness 2018: How the UAE is Switzerland