In addition to reporting the economic, environmental, and social aspects of COVID-19's effect on New Zealand and its recovery, Statistics NZ has added the Gross National Happiness. Today (GNH) index to show a real-time measure of our happiness levels.
The GNH is the brainchild of Dr Stephanie Rossouw (School of Social Science & Public Policy) and Associate Professor Talita Greyling (University of Johannesburg, SA).
The index uses big data in the form of Twitter to measure New Zealanders' evaluative mood.
The scale of the happiness scores runs between 0 (unhappy) and 10 (happy), with 5 being neutral (neither happy nor unhappy). Additionally, each tweet's underpinning emotions are analysed, with distinctions made between eight emotions: sadness, surprise, disgust, anticipation, fear, anger, trust, and joy.
On Monday 6 September, Statistics New Zealand started reporting the GNH as an official indicator, representing a real-time measure for subjective well-being, in the NZ Statistic COVID-19 data portal.
Asked about the accuracy of the GNH, Stephanie said she never ceases to be amazed by the accuracy of the index.
"Time and again, our real-time research delivers important evidence about how people respond to events in and beyond their country. The findings around Kiwis and COVID-19 perfectly capture and reflect the events of the past month - from the North Island's major power cut and the nationwide return to lockdown level 4, to the recent terrorist attack in Auckland."