Published on January 16, 2014
Our Happiness Ben Page – Chief Executive, Ipsos MORI firstname.lastname@example.org @benatipsosmori #LSEHappiness
We can get reliable numbers from surveys
Who said this? “Well being can’t be measured by money or traded in markets. It’s about the beauty of our surroundings, the quality of our culture, and above all, the strength of our relationships. Improving our society’s sense of well-being is, I believe, the central political challenge of our lives.” David Cameron, May 2006
Already has critics – for miserablists!
It is a popular idea… “Policies should put less emphasis on individual consumption, and more emphasis on other aspects of the quality of life.” Agree 7% 8% 8% 8% 9% 9% 9% 10% 11% 12% 12% 12% 14% 15% 15% 15% 15% 15% 16% 16% 17% 17% 19% 22% 23% 26% Base: 25,103 European adults UK G er m an y Fi nl an Ne d th er la nd s Ro m an ia Cz Po ec la n h Re d pu bl ic La tv ia Sl ov ak ia 8% EU 27 G re ec e 14% 93% 93% 93% 92% 92% 91% 91% 91% 90% 89% 88% 88% 88% 86% 86% 85% 85% 85% 85% 84% 84% 83% 83% 81% 78% 77% 74% Ita l Po y rtu ga l Sp ai n M al ta Cy pr Lu us xe m bo ur Hu g ng ar y Ire la nd Es to ni a Be lg iu m Au st ria Sl ov en ia Fr an ce Li th ua ni a Bu lg ar De ia nm ar k Sw ed en 86% Disagree
The economy, stupid?
Not all richer countries are happier http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2008/04/16/business/20080416_LEONHARDT_GRAPHIC.jpg
What’s with the Danes?? On the whole, are you very satisfied, fairly satisfied, not very satisfied or not at all satisfied with the life you lead? (Std EB, Nov 10) What are your expectations for the next twelve months: will the next twelve months be better, worse or the same, when it comes to...Your life in general? (Std EB: Nov 10) % Very Satisfied (EU) Denmark Greece France UK Germany Spain Italy 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Sep-73 Sep-79 Sep-85 Sep-91 Sep-97 Sep-03 Sep-09 8
The challenge in the UK
What would make you happier? Q Which four or five of the following things do you think would make you happier? 37 35 More time with family Earning double what I do now Better health 30 23 22 21 19 17 16 15 13 12 More time with friends More travelling More time for leisure/sport Better community spirit Having a happy marriage More contact with nature Better housing Learning new skills Moving abroad Moving jobs More time to think/be alone 6 5 Base: 2,015 interviewed face to face in home in GB aged 15 +, 20-25 Sept
What would make you happiest? % 60 50 Loads more money More time with my family Better Health 40 30 20 More/better possessions 10 0 15-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65-74 Age Base: 2,015 interviewed face to face in home in GB aged 15 +, 20-25 Sept 75+
What would make you happiest? % 50 40 30 Doubled income More time with my family More access to nature Better housing 20 10 AB C1 C2 Social Class Base: 2,015 interviewed face to face in home in GB aged 15 +, 20-25 Sept DE
Money does matter to a very large proportion of the population’s happiness…
What else works?
Leisure and relationships…… “If you want to be happy for a few hours, get drunk. If you want to be happy for a few years, get a wife. If you want to be happy forever, get a garden” Traditional
Leisure and relationships 77% Satisfaction by frequency of gardening 74% 74% 73% 72% 71% At least once a week At least once a month Several times a year Once a year or less Never/alm ost never Total
Do some sport…….. Life satisfaction by regularity of walking, swimming or playing sport 76% 74% 73% 73% 72% 70% At least once a week At least once a month Several times a year Once a year or less Never/alm ost never Total
Get Married 33% 31% % very happy 25% 16% Married Cohabiting Single Divorced/sep arated Base: 2,015 interviewed face to face in home in GB aged 15 +, 20-25 Sept
Get Qualified % very happy 35% 30% 28% 23% Degree or PHd A Levels GSCE None Base: 2,015 interviewed face to face in home in GB aged 15 +, 20-25 Sept
Go to church 47% 39% 35% 31% 26% Never 28% Several times a year Monthly + Nearly weekly Weekly Several times weekly
Avoid middle age and teenagers Taking all things together, would you say in general you are… % Unhappy/ Very unhappy 15-34 35-54 55-74 75+ Base: 2013 British adults % Very Happy 31 -3 26 -5 -2 -4 29 30
The terror of teenagers! % Study 1 Study 2 Study 3 Study 4 56 55 54 53 52 51 50 49 48 47 46 Married without children Child bearing Pre-school School Teenagers, First child Empty nest Empty next children, children, oldest 12gone to to to death of oldest 5 oldest 5-12 16 last leaving retirement first at home spouse
The problems of adaption, estimation bias and social comparison
Things are never as good or as bad as we think they will be... Happiness and getting married……. 7.8 Life Satisfaction 7.7 7.6 7.5 7.4 7.3 7.2 7.1 7 -4.0 -3.0 -2.0 -1.0 0.0 1.0 Lucas, Clark, Georgellis, and Diener (2003). N ~24,000 2.0 3.0 4.0
Some things that might increase happiness Get married Become richer than your friends, but stay friends with them to beat the problem of social comparison As you earn more, try to constrain the growth in your spending to beat the problem of adaption Find religion, and attend meetings at least monthly, if not weekly Find some extra leisure time and spend more time with friends and family Get a degree Visit your doctor for a health test – the healthier, the happier Live to a ripe old age – being middle aged is just depressing
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