Hsinchu is the happiest place in Taiwan: Survey

Hsinchu City scored the highest this year on a happiness index ranking the cities and counties of Taiwan.

The city also improved the most of the 22 counties and cities, from 10th last year to first in this year's survey, the results of which were released Tuesday.

Hsinchu Mayor Lin Chih-chien (林智堅) said the city had "three highs" - high salaries, high education levels and high birthrates - while also being the youngest city or county in Taiwan, with an average age of 37 years.

"(We) hope to boost tourism by introducing more urban aesthetics and good designs in the future," Lin said.

The survey, jointly conducted by the Chinese-language Economic Daily News and Nan Shan Life Insurance Co. (南山人壽), is based on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) Better Life index.

Taipei City reported the lowest governance satisfaction rates among Taiwan's six special municipalities and dropped from the top seven to 11th on the happiness index. The report attributed the slump to recent controversies such as the Taipei Dome construction dispute.

Taiwan's six special municipalities are Kaohsiung, New Taipei, Taichung, Tainan, Taipei and Taoyuan.

Yu Chih-chin (于趾琴), editor-in-chief of the Economic Daily News, said that the general happiness index was high but that the subjective happiness index posted a drop that pushed Taipei down the list.

Penghu County, ranking No. 2 on the national happiness index, has been in the top three for three years running. The island county also ranks first for subjective happiness, performing best in the categories work-life balance, government satisfaction, personal safety and working conditions.

Hualien County ranked third on the index and ranked highest in the country for environmental quality and living conditions.