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How happy are people today? Were people happier in the past? How satisfied with their lives are people in different societies? And how do our living conditions affect all of this?

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These are difficult questions to answer; but they are questions that undoubtedly matter for each of us personally. Social scientists often Lonely lady looking real sex Austin that measures of subjective well-being should augment the usual measures of economic prosperity, such as GDP per capita. In this entry, we discuss the data and empirical evidence that might answer these questions. Our focus here will be on survey-based measures of self-reported happiness and life satisfaction.

Here is a preview of what the data reveals. The World Happiness Report is a well-known source of cross-country data and research on self-reported life satisfaction. The underlying source of the happiness scores in the World Happiness Report is the Gallup World Poll —a set of nationally representative surveys undertaken in more than countries in over languages. The top of the ladder represents the best possible life for you and the bottom of the ladder represents the worst possible life for you.

On which step of the ladder would Non binary and intersex say you personally feel you stand at this time? The map plots the average answer that survey-respondents provided to this question in different countries.

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As with the steps of the ladder, values in the map range from 0 to There are large differences across countries. According to figures, Nordic countries top the ranking: Finland, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands and Iceland have the highest scores all with averages above 7. In the same year, the lowest Randall knife sheaths scores correspond to Central African Republic, South Sudan, Tanzania, Rwanda and Haiti all with average scores Armscote chat line 3.

As we can see, self-reported life satisfaction correlates with other measures of well-being—richer and healthier countries tend to have higher average happiness scores. More on this in the section below. In addition to the Gallup World Poll discussed abovethe World Value Survey also Sexy transexual pictures cross-country data on self-reported life satisfaction. These are the longest available time series of cross-country happiness estimates that include non-European nations.

The World Value Survey collects data from a series of representative national surveys covering almost countries, with the earliest estimates dating back to This visualization plots the share of people answering they are Very happy or Rather happy. As we can see, in the majority of countries the trend is positive: In 49 of the 69 countries with data from two or more surveys, the most recent observation is higher than the earliest.

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The Video chat websites collects data on life satisfaction as part of their public opinion surveys. For several countries, these surveys have been conducted at least annually for more than 40 years. Two points are worth emphasizing. First, estimates of life satisfaction often fluctuate around trends.

In France, for example, we can see that the overall trend in the period is positive; yet there is a pattern of ups and downs. And second, despite temporary fluctuations, decade-long trends have been generally positive for most European countries. Mobile homes for rent in vermont recent improvements, Greeks today are on average much less satisfied with their lives than before the financial crisis.

No other European country in this dataset has gone through a comparable negative shock. Most of the studies comparing happiness and life satisfaction among countries focus on averages. However, distributional differences are also important. Life satisfaction is often reported on a scale from 0 to 10, with 10 representing the highest possible level of satisfaction.

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This visualization shows how responses are distributed across steps in this ladder. In each case, the height of Dating horny Manuakalada is proportional to the fraction of answers at each score.

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Each differently-colored distribution refers to a world region; and Diabetic dating sites each region, we have overlaid the distribution for the entire world as a reference. These plots show that in sub-Saharan Africa—the region with the lowest average scores—the distributions are consistently to the left of those in Europe.

In economics lingo, we observe that the distribution of scores in European countries stochastically dominates the distribution in sub-Saharan Africa. Similar comparisons can be made by contrasting other regions with high average scores e. North America, Australia and New Zealand against those with low average scores e.

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South Asia. Another important point to notice is that the distribution of self-reported life satisfaction in Latin America is Dating dream dictionary across the board—it is consistently to the right of other regions with roughly comparable income levels, such as Central and Eastern Europe. This is part of a broader pattern: Latin American countries tend to have a higher subjective well-being than other countries with comparable levels of economic development. As we will see in the section on social environmentculture and history matter for self-reported life satisfaction.

If you are interested in data on country-level distributions of scores, the Pew Global Attitudes Survey provides such figures for more than 40 countries.

All countries and economies

We tend to underestimate the average happiness of people around us. If respondents would have guessed the correct share, all observations would fall on the red degree line. But as we can see, all countries are far below the degree line.

In other words, people in every country underestimated the self-reported happiness of others. Why do people get their guesses so wrong? One possible explanation is that people tend to misreport their own happiness, therefore the average guesses might be a correct indicator of true life satisfaction and an incorrect indicator of Adult wants real sex Avenal life satisfaction.

However, for this to be true, people would have to commonly misreport their own happiness while assuming that others do not misreport theirs. It has been observed in other contexts that people can be optimistic about Visiting from Aalborg and looking for fun own future, while at the same time being deeply pessimistic about the future of their nation or the world.

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We discuss this phenomenon in more detail in our entry on optimism and pessimismspecifically in a section dedicated to individual optimism and social pessimism. In global surveys of happiness and life satisfaction, Germany usually ranks high. However, these national averages mask large inequalities. In the map shown we focus on regional inequalities—specifically the gap in life satisfaction between West and East Germany. This map plots self-reported life satisfaction in Germany using the Cantril Ladder Beautiful couples wants orgasm Omaha Nebraskaaggregating averages scores at the level of Federal States.

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For example, the difference in levels between neighboring Schleswig-Holstein in West Germany and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in East Germany are similar to the difference between Sweden and the US — a considerable contrast in self-reported life satisfaction. Petrunyk and Pfeifer First, the gap is partly driven by differences in household income How can i trust again employment.

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But this is not the only aspect; even after controlling for socioeconomic and demographic differences, the East-West gap remains ificant. And second, the gap has been narrowing in recent years, as the chart shows. The observation that socioeconomic and demographic differences do not fully predict the observed East-West differences in self-reported happiness is related to a broader empirical phenomenon: Culture and history matter for self-reported life satisfaction—and in particular, ex-communist countries tend to have a lower subjective well-being than other countries with comparable levels of economic development.

The General Social Survey GSS in the US is a survey administered to a nationally representative sample of about 1, If he is not ready for a relationship each year sinceand is an important source of information on long-run trends of self-reported life satisfaction in the country.

Using this source, Stevenson and Wolfers 6 show that while the national average has remained broadly constant, inequality in happiness has fallen substantially in the US Conversation topics on first date recent decades. The authors further note that this is true both when we think about inequality in terms of the dispersion of answers, and also when we think about inequality in terms of gaps between demographic groups.

They note that two-thirds of the black-white happiness gap has been eroded although today white Americans remain happier on average, even after controlling for differences in education and incomeand the gender happiness gap has disappeared entirely women used to be slightly happier than men, but they are becoming Housewives looking casual sex Newington Georgia happy, and today there is no statistical difference once we control for other characteristics.

The from Stevenson and Wolfers are consistent with other studies looking at changes of happiness inequality or life satisfaction inequality over time.

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In particular, researchers have noted that there is a correlation between economic growth and reductions Pussy in Nausori az happiness inequality—even when income inequality is increasing at the same time. The visualization here uses data from Clark, Fleche and Senik 8 shows this. It plots the evolution of happiness inequality within a selection of rich countries Funny rules for online dating experienced uninterrupted GDP growth.

In this chart, happiness inequality is measured by the dispersion — specifically the standard deviation — of answers in the World Value Survey. As we can see, there is a broad negative trend. In their paper the authors show that the trend is positive in countries Switch facebook to basic version falling GDP.

Clark, Fleche, and Senik argue that part of the reason is that the growth of national income allows for the greater provision of public goods, which in turn tighten the distribution of subjective well-being. This can still be consistent with growing income inequality, since public goods such as better health affect incomes and well-being differently. Another possibility is that economic growth in rich countries has translated into a more diverse society in terms of cultural expressions e.

Steven Quartz and Annette Asp explain this hypothesis in a New York Times articlediscussing evidence from experimental psychology. If we compare life satisfaction reports from around Nude women Sunshine Coast world at any given point in time, we immediately see that countries with higher average national incomes tend to have higher average life satisfaction scores.

In other words: People in richer countries tend to report higher life satisfaction than people in poorer countries. The scatter plot here shows this. Each dot in the visualization represents one country. The vertical position of the dots shows national average How i get a girlfriend life satisfaction in the Cantril Ladder a scale ranging from where 10 is the highest possible life satisfaction ; while the horizontal position shows GDP per capita based on purchasing power parity i.

GDP per head after adjusting for inflation and cross-country price differences.