In order to be able to measure how well the country is meeting the goals of GNH, the Center for Bhutan Studies and GNH Research has developed systematic methods to measure the levels of happiness across Bhutanese society through an index.
The GNH index measures the conditions and satisfaction of Bhutanese people according to the 9 domains. The GNH philosophy considers that all of these aspects of life contribute to the human potential to achieve true happiness.
Bhutan has conducted two nationwide surveys on GNH in 2007 and 2010. The 2010 national GNH survey contained 249 questions about personal happiness -satisfaction- covering 33 clustered indicators, that have a total of 124 variables, 9 domains and 4 pillars, which define GNH. The 2010 survey on GNH involved 7,142 respondents and the results were published here, where you can also find a documentary.
The data collected from the national happiness surveys provides the Government an insight into the quality of life in the villages and towns in Bhutan. The result of the national happiness study is used to identify the most effective initiatives for each local community, so people equitably have the best conditions and opportunities to be happy.
According to Dasho Karma Ura, President of the Centre for Bhutan Studies, the purposes of the index are:
– Setting an alternative framework of development;
– Providing indicators to sectors to guide development;
– Allocating resources in accordance with targets and GNH screening tools;
– Measuring people’s happiness and well being;
– Measuring progress over time;
– Comparing progress across the country.
“What impressed me the most about Bhutan’s approach is that they are one of the very first nations to go Beyond GDP by applying the comprehensive metrics of the Gross National Happiness index to guide policy, budget and infrastructure decisions. I think the GNH Center is incredibly important to the world as we have reached the point of diminishing returns on a limitless growth economic model on a planet of finite resources.”
– Cylvia Hayes, First Lady of Oregon and CEO of 3EStrategies