Business As Usual

People in Asia Pacific’s emerging markets more positive – survey

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - People in Asia Pacific’s emerging market cities like Manila are more positive about their well-being than their counterparts in developed cities, according to a study conducted by MasterCard.

In the MasterCard’s first Asia Pacific Cities Well-Being Index, it was reported that  people in Manila, an emerging market city, have a generally positive stance when it comes to work and financial issues . 

Almost 9,000 people across 33 cities in 17 markets in Asia Pacific were surveyed for the study, which measures overall levels of well-being by examining people’s attitudes toward four components including work and finances, safety from threats, satisfaction, and personal well-being. The index is calculated with zero as the most negative, 100 as most positive and 50 as neutral.

Manila got an overall well-being index of 66.7, indicating that Manila residents are most positive when it comes to work and finances (71.5), specifically in terms of regular income and employment.

However, the survey showed Filipinos are least optimistic about  safety and threats, particularly in the aspects of financial crime and cyber crime . 

Most notable, according to the study,  is the stark contrast in levels of stress between those living in developed and emerging market cities like Manila.

 “The assumption has often been that economic development leads to less financial, family and work stress. However, it is clear from MasterCard’s first Asia Pacific Cities Well-Being Index that people in developed markets are feeling under significant pressure both at work and at home,’’ Georgette Tan,  MasterCard Group head of  Communications in  Asia Pacific, said.  

According to the UN report on World Urbanization Prospects, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050.

Today, many cities in Asia Pacific are grappling with the challenges that come with this growth.

By revealing perceptions of well-being in Asia Pacific’s cities, the index helps both government and business identify and address some of the key concerns of urban residents.

Bangalore (72.3) was the most positive city, followed by Jakarta (72.1) and Delhi (71.1). The least positive was Dhaka followed by Tokyo, and Busan .

Between emerging market and developed cities, the starkest contrast in levels of positivity is in the area of personal well-being, which covers family, work and financial stress as well as health. Overall, people in developed market cities feel much more stress, and are less optimistic when it comes to their general health than people in emerging market cities.

‘’As economic growth slows in developed markets it is likely that this has had an impact on levels of optimism when it comes to job prospects. If you are not happy in your current workplace and there are less job options available it is likely you will feel more stressed. Work and financial stress are often key drivers of family stress, so these scores are likely to be aligned. Yet, it must be noted that overall people in both emerging and developed market cities remain positive about their current well-being. Opportunities and quality of life must continue to improve in cities across Asia Pacific if they are to thrive and grow,” Tan said.

As well as being more stressed about their “work and finances,”  people in developed market cities are also less optimistic about the outlook for their regular income and employment than people in emerging market cities.

Nevertheless, they do appear to be in greater control when it comes to keeping up with their bills and saving for big purchases.

Developed market cities in Australia (Adelaide: 21.7; Perth: 22.; Brisbane: 24.5; Melbourne: 28; Sydney: 36.3), South Korea (Busan 37) and Taiwan (Taipei: 38.7) are the most pessimistic about their employment outlook.

The issues that people in both developed and emerging market cities appear equally concerned about are those focused around safety from threats (57.7 in emerging market cities; 56.5 in developed). Financial crime (54.7 in emerging market cities; 56.6 in developed) and cyber-crime (55.8 in emerging market cities; 50.9 in developed) were causes for particular concern.

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