China Daily reported Thursday the happiness survey results were announced by the information portal china.com.cn after polling about 1,350 Web users. The survey said nearly 40 percent of Chinese believe happiness is determined by a person's wealth.
While only 6 percent said they were happy, 36 percent said their lives had improved during the past five years. The report said those living in major or first-tier cities were the least happy, as they felt more pressure from rising housing prices and traffic congestion than those in smaller towns and cities.
A Gallup World Poll of respondents in 155 countries over four through 2009 put Denmark at the top with 82 percent of Danes describing themselves as happy. China ranked 125th in the world, China Daily said.
The Chinese government claims to have lifted hundreds of millions of Chinese out of poverty with three decades of economic growth. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has said issues essential to people's happiness include ensuring social equality and justice, the report said.
China has been cracking down to prevent anti-government protests similar to those currently sweeping North Africa and the Middle East.
Zhang Lifan, an expert on China's modern history, told China Daily it is important for the government to redistribute the fruits of economic development so more people benefit since the widening wealth gap is "tearing society apart."