Makueni ranked the happiest county in new Infotrak study

Monday, August 10th, 2020 00:00 | By
Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana. Photo/PD/Mutuku Mwangangi

Do you think more money or love will make you happy?  Well, you might want to add moving counties to your happiness bucket list.

A recent survey has indicated residents of Makueni County are the happiest Kenyans while those living in Nairobi the least happy. 

Makueni is followed by West Pokot and Machakos counties at 62.4 and 62.1 per cent respectively alongside Bomet, Kwale, Elgeyo Marakwet, Marsabit, Uasin Gishu and Kericho.

Infotrak Research and Consulting, in an opinion poll released yesterday, said Makueni’s lead is largely attributed to a calm political environment and residents’ involvement in development projects.

In terms of regions, the Eastern part of Kenya leads the pack, followed by Rift valley, North Eastern, Central, Western, Nyanza, Coast and Nairobi.

“Makueni County was at number 43 in our first index report and that is because the county government was going through hard times from the County Assembly but now that they have political stability, which has resulted in coexistence giving county residents a sense of calm,” said Angela Ambitho, Founder and CEO of Infotrak .

According to the report, the top drivers of happiness in the county are peace, education, quality and affordable health care and good governance.

“When residents from the happiest counties were interrogated to shed light on what drives their length of happiness many mentioned visible positive changes in their social and natural environment made them exceedingly happy,” the report said.

Prudent use of public funds was another key factor which the report said has contributed to happiness.

But in a shocking revelation, the poll established that cities are not the happiest places to live in.

According to the survey, residents of Nairobi are seemingly a frustrated lot despite having better services.

“Lack of social support and environmental ergonomics coupled with congestion, pollution and economic pressure just makes city dwellers dull and an unhappy lot,” the report reads.

 The scenario was replicated in Mombasa, Trans Nzoia and Taita Taveta counties with the happiness index low standing at 52.6 percent, 52.5 per cent, 52.0 per cent and 48.9 per cent respectively.

No participation

Lack of public participation and unhealthy politicking was attributed to low happiness index in these counties.

“These may be the counties that are concentrating very hard in giving you the roads and other development projects but may not have incorporated their residents like Makueni has.

So the soft issues that actually contribute to how happy you are have not been factored,” Ambitho added.

In the findings, the overall country’s happiness index is rated at 57.3 per cent.  

Last month, the Mental Health Taskforce Chairperson Dr Frank Njenga recommended that an independent mental health commission be formed to monitor people’s happiness levels and provide a report annually indicating reasons for their happiness or lack of it.

Njenga warned that with the prevailing harsh economic times, most Kenyans have been subjected to depression which unless controlled it would turn to be a big monster.

“We are recommending an equally decisive declaration by our government that recognises that too many people are dying either by suicide or by the root of gender-based violence and we suggest that such a move will and can save lives,” he said.

The World Happiness Report is a landmark survey of the state of global happiness that ranks 156 countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be.

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