Comparing Happiness across Countries

How happy are you?  happy happiness positive

There is no doubt that the positive or negative view that we have of our lives is of huge importance to each of us.

How do you measure happiness?

Researcher Max Roser suggests using this definition given by the ‘World Database of Happiness’:

‘Overall happiness is the degree to which an individual judges the overall quality of his/her own life-as-a-whole favorably. In other words: how much one likes the life one leads.’

Comparing Happiness across Countries

In the map below, Roser presents data from the World Happiness Report 2016 – online here.

Click on ‘Chart’ to see the change over time for a particular country.

Life Satisfaction across Countries  

One of the most influential recent study on this topic was done by the Princeton Professor Angus Deaton in 2008.

In the graph reprinted below, Deaton plotted the way that people view their lives versus their income.

The result is very clear and shows a strong positive correlation between economic prosperity and people’s view of their own lives.

Global data on the correlation between income and life satisfaction from Gallup World Poll – Deaton (2008)

Each Doubling of GDP is Associated with a Constant Increase in Life Satisfaction - Deaton

Source: OurWorldInData – Max Roser


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Michael is a director of Metropole Property Strategists who help their clients grow, protect and pass on their wealth through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He's once again been voted Australia's leading property investment adviser and one of Australia's 50 most influential Thought Leaders. His opinions are regularly featured in the media. Visit

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