Happiness in nations: Subjective appreciation of life in 56 nations 1946-1922

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Abstract

This data-collection is about the degree to which people evaluate their life-as-a-whole positively, shortly called 'happiness' or 'life-satisfaction. It present data on happiness in nations as assessed in survey studies. The data concern average level and dispersion of happiness and allow comparison between nations and through time.Average level happiness is an indicator of livability of a nation. Like physical and mental health, it denotes the degree to which people flourish in a society. Dispersion of happiness is an indicator of social inequality in nations. The collection restricts to surveys that used acceptable questions on happiness. June 1998 it covered 1483 studies in 94 nations between 1945-1998 (current number mentioned on the start-screen). On some items for some countries, it involves time series, some time series cover 10 to 40 years. The collection is updated periodically. Data are presented by question type. In some cases, responses on divergent questions can be transformed to comparable scores. Three techniques are used to homogenize the data. Some illustrative results: Average happiness differs markedly across nations. The differences cannot be attributed to cultural variation in measurement error. The differences can neither be explained as a result of cultural variation in outlook on life. The differences in happiness are largely the result of variation in real quality-of-life. Happiness has risen over the last decades in several nations. Dispersion of happiness in nations varies with inequality in length of life and inequality in income. Later updata available at http://worlddatabaseofhappiness.eur.nl/hap_nat/nat_fp.php
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationRotterdam
Number of pages365
EditionStudies in social and cultural transformation 2
Publication statusPublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

SeriesStudies in social and cultural transformation
Volume2

Research programs

  • ESSB SOC

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