Happiness isn’t easy to quantify, but a lot of people have tried: Bhutan has its Gross National Happiness survey, global research company Ipsos has its annual world happiness poll, and now Columbia University’s Earth Institute has put out the first World Happiness Report, which has the ambitious goal of surveying the state of happiness in the world today and looking at how the science of happiness plays into it.
The report, commissioned by the United Nations Conference on Happiness (yes, that exists), contains over a hundred pages of musings on world happiness. Here’s an ultra-abridged version of the findings.
Richer people are happier than poorer people on average, but wealth is only one factor in overall happiness. The same goes for countries, where factors like personal freedom, lack of corruption, and social support are more important.
Unemployment obviously reduces happiness, but not because of what you may think. It’s not the loss of income, but the loss of things like self-esteem and workplace social life that lead to a drop in happiness. High unemployment rates can trigger unhappiness even in the employed, who suddenly become fearful of losing their jobs. According to the study, even low-quality jobs yield more satisfaction than being unemployed.
In some countries, the self-employed report higher levels of job satisfaction than the employed. The study found a positive correlation between happiness and self-employment in both American and European data, but not in Latin America. The possible reason: Self-employment may be a necessity in developing countries where formal employment is not as readily available. When it’s not a choice, it doesn’t lead to happiness.
Higher living standards correspond with increased happiness in some countries, but not all. In the U.S., for example, happiness levels have remained stagnant while living standards have risen over the past 50 years or so.
Levels of trust (i.e. whether you think someone would return a cash-stuffed wallet) have fallen dramatically over time in certain countries--including the U.S. and U.K.--but risen in others, like Denmark and Italy. One explanation may be that overall life satisfaction has dropped in the former countries, but has risen in many continental European countries.
Lack of perceived equality can reduce happiness. The report explains: 'The most positive results are in an interesting time-series study using both the U.S. General Social Survey and Eurobarometer. This finds that in both the U.S. and Europe increases in inequality have (other things equal) produced reductions in happiness. The effect has been stronger in Europe than in the U.S. This difference probably reflects ideological differences: Some 70% of Americans believe that the poor have a chance of escaping poverty, compared with only 40% of Europeans.'
Mental health is the biggest contributing factor to happiness in all countries, but only a quarter of mentally ill people get sufficient treatment in the most developed nations.
Married people across the world (studies have been done in the U.S., EU countries, Switzerland, Latin America, Russia, Eastern Europe, and Asia) claim that they’re happier than single counterparts. A stable family life also contributes to happiness.
It’s not hard to conclude from these findings that gross domestic product is not the ultimate indicator of happiness.
The report sums it up well:
'GDP is important but not all that is important. This is especially true in developed countries, where most or all of the population has living standards far above basic material needs. Except in the very poorest countries happiness varies more with the quality of human relationships than with income. And in the richest countries it is essential not to subordinate the happiness of the people to the 'interests of the economy, ' since the marginal utility of income is low when income is so high. The economy exists to serve the people, not vice versa. Incremental gains in income in a rich country may be much less beneficial to the population than steps to ensure the vibrancy of local communities or better mental health. 'The article is provided by Henan Hongxing,which is the professional manufacturer of complete sets of mining machinery, for example,screw classifiers, it is always doing the best in products and service.You can visit Hongxing at Sand Maker:http://www.hx-crusher.com/.
- Author Articles
- More From This AuthorTechnorati is a blog submission site that ranks blogs. In other words, it is a search engine used solely for blogs. Once you have successfully submitted the blog, use tags to your advantage, since they are...With the help of high quality display panels, it is possible to increase business and attract more visitors to your sale venue. For instance, if you are putting up a stand in an exhibition, an attractive board...Social bookmarking sites were started as an alternative to web browser bookmarking. Instead of users bookmarking their favorite links on their web browsers, now they have an option to join many social...First impressions count when potential customers walk into your store and immediately, they are making subconscious comparisons regarding your store presentation. It is a fact, that shoppers prefer having...Most of us have taken a personality test at some point in our life. While some of us have taken it at school, others have taken it while trying for a job. It is important to understand that these tests are...
- Related Articles
- Related ArticlesHemorrhoids are very uncomfortable and painful circumstances in which sufferers feel unrest and sever cramps at toilet stool. In fact, experts say that internal hemorrhoid is not too much serious and painful...So you were wandering around and happened to eavesdrop a conversation between two suited gentlemen immersed in a discussion about how much each of them profited while trading in the foreign currency markets....It is essential that people understand reasons behind their dentistry problems so that they can look for sustainable solutions while searching for dental care. If your teeth are damaged, there are many...Conveyancers work through a long prescribed procedure for transfer of ownership of a property. Regulation allows the process be handled by licensed conveyancers. Nowadays, online conveyancers are becoming an...High cholesterol is often associated with atherosclerosis, a condition in which blood vessels are narrowed down fat deposits. Elevated levels of cholesterol in the body is caused by blockage of the arteries...
- Latest Articles
- Latest ArticlesMen who slept their way through biology class may only have a passing understanding of how the human body works. For example, they may know that firmness develops when the male organ fills with blood, but they...One of the most common complaints that men bring to their urologist or family doctor is the issue of a sore male organ. Soreness and irritation in this delicate area is, of course, alarming – but in most...Short-term rental apartments are those types of apartments that are available with complete household items. These apartments usually include all necessary appliances that are needed to live in them. Visitors...In todays time having smartphone is very common and 9 people out of 10 having smartphone and devices such as ipod, tablet, ipad, smartphone, mini tablet is common now. iPhones and other smart devices are...Whenever you establish a business there is lots of stress in your mind and because of this it becomes very hard to manage the whole thing on your own. These days, it is not an easy task to find the correct...