The survey findings, from an online poll involving 1,052 respondents, were released a day before a White Paper on Singapore’s response to COVID-19 is set to be debated in Parliament.
19 Mar 2023 03:00PM (Updated: 19 Mar 2023 03:00PM)
SINGAPORE: More than 70 per cent of Singapore residents who took part in a government survey felt that their overall quality of life was the same or better in 2023, compared with 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic.
But a higher proportion of youths aged 15 to 19 reported a drop in their quality of life and their ability to manage their mental health, compared with before the pandemic.
The survey was commissioned by the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) and was conducted by RySense from Jan 31 to Feb 6. Polling was done online and involved 1,052 Singapore residents aged 15 and above.
The findings were released on Sunday (Mar 19), a day before a White Paper on Singapore’s response to COVID-19 is set to be debated in Parliament.
The White Paper looks at what the country did and did not do well during the pandemic.
Writing on Facebook and LinkedIn, Minister for Communications and Information Josephine Teo called COVID-19 “the crisis of our generation”.
“It severely tested the ability of our leaders and government, as well as the resilience of our people,” she said in her posts on Sunday.
QUALITY OF LIFE
About 72 per cent of Singapore residents polled felt their overall quality of life was the same or better this year, compared with 2019.
Respondents were asked to rate 10 key aspects of life, including relationships, work-life balance and health.
Of the 28 per cent who felt the overall quality of life was worse, at least 6 in 10 of them rated all 10 aspects the same or higher.
About 77 per cent of the respondents said family relationships became stronger or remained the same over the pandemic.
When asked to rate their overall quality of life now as the country comes out of COVID-19, about 69 per cent rated it Good or Very Good.
Ratings of Poor or Very Poor were “generally low” across the 10 aspects of life that they were polled on, said MCI.
But a higher proportion of youths aged 15 to 19 reported a drop in their quality of life – 38 per cent compared with 28 per cent for the general population.
About 37 per cent of youths in this age group also said there was a decrease in their ability to manage their mental health now compared with before the pandemic.
“This suggests that the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on social activities was more keenly felt by the young, especially teenagers,” said MCI.
For example, about 40 per cent of youths – compared with 28 per cent for the general population – reported that their relationships with friends were poorer than before COVID-19.
About 49 per cent of them felt less able to pursue activities and hobbies.
Compared to the general population, respondents with multiple dependents – such as elderly people and children at home – were more likely to rate their overall quality of life now to be Poor or Very Poor, the survey found.
About 18 per cent of those with multiple dependents said their quality of life now was Poor or Very Poor.
“COVID-19 was a very bleak period for many of us. It was a time of heartache as our gatherings with family and friends were restricted, a time of anxiety as our daily activities had to adjust along with the uncertainties of the pandemic,” said Mrs Teo.
When it comes to managing future pandemics well, about 7 in 10 Singapore residents expressed confidence in the ability of the country, the government, the healthcare system, the community and themselves to do so.
Compared with the general population, unemployed respondents were less confident about Singapore’s ability to get through another pandemic in future.
Overall, the findings “suggest that social capital was strengthened over the course of the pandemic”, said MCI.
“Trust between citizens and the Government was strengthened; and most notably, trust among citizens was strengthened too,” said the ministry.
“Significantly, residents reported strong confidence that Singapore, the government, our healthcare institutions and communities would be able to manage future pandemics well.”
MCI said where the survey sample was not representative of the resident population by gender, age, or race, it was weighted accordingly to ensure representativeness.
Mrs Teo said COVID-19 was also “a time of light”.
“Kindness, generosity, and just simple human decency of giving consideration to one and another – these qualities were brought to the fore,” she added.
“Singaporeans rallied together to support one another, materially and in spirit. Many stepped forward to help the vulnerable, among other things, to get broadband and laptops to work and learn from home.”