MANILA -- Filipinos are the second happiest and most optimistic people in Asia, having a positive outlook on life in general, Axa Asia Life and research company Taylor Nelson Sofres said in a joint study released on Wednesday.
In the Axa Life Outlook Index, Filipinos ranked 2nd with a score of 85 percent, among eight countries and regions included in the poll. Filipinos were only edged out by happier Indians, which scored 87.2 percent, reported Philippine television network GMA News.
Following the Philippines was the Chinese mainland, Thailand, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore.
The study tried to measure how satisfied people are at present, and how optimistic they are for the next 12 months, and five years about their career, family, health and retirement planning.
Andrew Alcid, AXA president and chief executive officer, said the country's economic status and the strength of the peso are big factors contributing to the overall optimism of the Filipino.
"The country's gross domestic product grew by 7.3 percent in the first half while the government was able to keep inflation at a low of over 2 percent. The bulls are apparently back in the local stock market and the peso remains very strong versus other currencies. The coming months will see remittances from overseas building up and further strengthening the local economy. All that, I believe, may be fueling all the optimism," Alcid said.
The respondents polled were largely middle class, which comprises the 25 percent to 35 percent of the population, aged 25 to 50 years. The middle-class in the Philippines is identified as those earning 15,000 pesos ($351) in personal monthly income. Sample size for the poll was 300. Interviews were done either face-to-face or online in the third quarter of 2007.
The study showed that Filipinos are relatively happy about their careers and their families but are most optimistic about their health.
"Filipinos are the most optimistic about their outlook on health even though they currently have one of the lowest levels of self-purchased medical insurance and company medical insurance," the study stated.
The study also revealed that Filipinos, although looking forward to a smooth retirement, are the least prepared for retirement.
However, the study noted that the positive outlook on life "does not necessarily mean people are well prepared for future life uncertainties."