Subjective Life Satisfaction in Changing Rural Yogyakarta, Indonesia

By Janianton Damanik, S. Djuni Prihatin and Susi Daryanti.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social and Community Studies

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Studies on subjective life satisfaction in Indonesia remain relatively new. Despite long existing studies and literature on this issue, few are directly related to the rural community in Indonesia. Discrepancies in information between issues of social change and life satisfaction have resulted in a dismal link between the two. It simply raises a couple of questions. First, do social changes in Indonesia positively affect life satisfaction? Second, how satisfied are villagers with their changing life today? The paper is based on a survey at the community level wherein two hundred samples of 3,960 village households were selected randomly. The minor-adjusted index of subjective happiness as formulated by the Indonesian Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) was used to measure the level of subjective life satisfaction. There are four main objectives determined: 1) describing the changes in the occupations and social relations in the community; 2) assessing the level of people’s satisfaction toward life as a whole; 3) measuring the difference in satisfaction level by age, education, income, and employment; and 4) analyzing the major value in life satisfaction. The collected data revealed that satisfaction toward the entirety of household life was at a moderate level of 76.7 which is slightly higher than the happiness index of the Indonesian people at around 65.1. This fact, however, did not reflect the similar rate used in the macro study of BPS. These findings were interpreted by incorporating specific and local values prevalent in the rural Javanese community, the ones that mainly fulfilled the social dimension of life (harmony, cohesiveness, and good feelings) as the primary rate of life satisfaction. The preferences on emotional to material satisfaction enable the rural Javanese community to adjust with social and economic changes, which are sometimes unfriendly.

Keywords: Subjective Life Satisfaction, Happiness, Social and Economic Changes, Javanese, Indonesia

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social and Community Studies, Volume 12, Issue 3, September 2017, pp.11-26. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 882.935KB).

Prof. Janianton Damanik

Professor, Department of Social Development and Welfare, Senior Researcher, Center for Tourism Studies, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Dr. S. Djuni Prihatin

Lecturer and Head of Undergraduate Program, Department of Social Development and Welfare, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Susi Daryanti

Lecturer, Department of Social Development and Welfare, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia