In Puerto Rico, 91 percent of the population is “very happy” or “pretty happy”, according to the 2018 World Values Survey recently published by a joint effort between the University of the Sacred Heart and the Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics.

A team of professors and students from the university were led by Javier Hernández, director of the Department of Business Administration, in carrying out the survey between May and November of 2019, which divulged that 52 percent of people have no interest in politics and would not vote for any political party, when in 2001 disinterest in politics was only at 28 percent. In addition, 65 percent of respondents think experts should be the ones making important decisions instead of the government.

The study asked 1,127 recipients about their values in all areas of life, from the economic to the social ones.  One important detail unearthed is that in Puerto Rico only 18 percent of people said they can trust the majority of people, identifying a weakness in its society.

The study proved religion to still be an important aspect in Puerto Rico, with 86.8  percent of participants stating that religion is “very important” or “pretty important”, and 79 percent saying they still pray every single day. However, the study found that the importance of religion in general has gone down since 2001 and the importance of friends and free time has gone up. In terms of importance, 94 percent of respondents mentioned family as being “very important”, followed by work, at 70 percent, time off, at 66%, and religion coming in last with 65 percent.

In regards to overall security, even though 85 percent of participants said they find their neighborhoods to be “pretty safe”, 71 percent of the population avoids carrying cash when leaving the house and 54 percent don’t leave their homes at night.

In addition, 66 percent consider themselves to be in “good” or “very good health”; 49 percent of the population said they had a “great deal” of confidence in the island’s universities and only 4 percent said they had a “great deal” of confidence in the government, with 49.7 percent saying they have none.

The World Values Survey is a comprehensive study of 65 countries that collects data on the development and values that sustain these democracies. The study represents an opportunity to take a close look at the social, economic, political and cultural status of the island as to identify areas that need help and devise a plan that will further the development and growth of the island.

“This project presents an abundance of information that is vital to the culture of decision-making based on evidence. This is valuable information about our values, beliefs, and political culture, among others, necessary to guide decisions of public policy,” said Orville M. Disdier, interim executive director of the Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics.

Contributing reporter for The Weekly Journal. She recently graduated from the University of Tampa where she obtained a Bachelors Degree in Communications and Journalism.

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