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Fact: Money makes people happier, says new research

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By Carlton Crabbe - November 27, 2014

Britons and Americans amongst happiest nations, but Poles and Greeks least happy

Our wealth DOES affect how happy we are, with people on higher incomes, more education and more possessions happiest of all. These are the findings of a new study (October 2014) from the Pew Research Centre and contradicts some previous studies on how happy money makes us. One of the most striking findings is that people in the emerging economies of China and Malaysia are happier now than when the survey was last done 7 years ago. It also found that women are growing more satisfied with their lifestyles.  Find out where your country ranks for happiness.

Money_does_Buy_Happiness_Pew_Research_Centre_2014Since the survey was last done, the world economic crisis has taken its toll on the happiness of the Spanish and Greeks. The Spanish people recorded a double digit decline in happiness during the course of their recession and the Greeks the least satisfied nation of the advanced countries. Meanwhile, the Israelis, Americans, Germans and Brits occupied the top 4 places for happiest people amongst advanced nations. In fact, nearly 60 per cent of people living in the UK rate their happiness as 7 when asked to rank their happiness out of 10.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, happiness in emerging and developing economies was linked to health, safety and education and then financial security. Less common needs to ensure happiness were internet access, car ownership or free time, but young people valued access to the internet more highly in their happiness than older generations.

National incomes continue to be closely linked to people's happiness. Interestingly, satisfaction in the wealthy nations tends to tail off, suggesting that increasing income does not make as much difference to life satisfaction once a certain point is reached. In other words, money does buy happiness, but only up to a point. Women were on average happier than men, whilst unmarried and middle-aged people tended to have lower well being levels than married and younger people.

When asked about the next 5 years, people in Asia and Africa were most optimistic among emerging and developing countries, whilst people in the Middle East are the least hopeful about the future. The survey was conducted across 43 countries in early 2014 and the results were compiled from over 47,000 participants who were asked to rank themselves from 1 to 10, with 10 representing the best possible life and 0 being the worst.