What makes people happy references

This page last updated July 25th, 2020

This page in brief

This page provides references I used when writing the pages on happiness. They show where to get more information on how to be happy.

The information on happiness on this website (Simple keys to a happier life and What makes people happy) was taken from the following sources. These reports generally define happiness as day-to-day happiness, life satisfaction as relating to the whole of life, and wellbeing as encompassing these two terms, plus (perhaps) health and other values, but I have not been strict in my use of these terms.

World Happiness Report

World Happiness Report 2020 is produced for the UN by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, based on a Gallup world survey. The full report can be downloaded.

Our World in Data

This useful site has a summary of World Happiness Report and World Values Survey data, plus other studies, in Happiness and Life Satisfaction.

The Australian Unity Wellbeing Survey

The Wellbeing Index is based on interviews with thousands of Australians. Information from 2001 to 2019 is published in reports on the website. Each annual report has a different emphasis

Harvard Grant Study

An 80 year study of the lives of 268 Harvard graduates:

Religion & Society Research

This UK research organisation has published many papers on religion, society and happiness. The findings of a 2008-2011 research study are in Religion Adds Value to the Happiness Hypothesis.

World Values Survey

The World Values Survey shows the variation in wellbeing across almost 100 countries that include 90% of the world’s population. You can check out the 2010-2014 report, view the actual data, download data files or analyse it online, and read many other publications.

I used World Values Survey data for earlier versions of my pages on happiness, but in my 2020 update I have found other sites more helpful.

Positive Psychology

A new branch of psychology which focuses on helping people live happier lives:

Rating countries for happiness

Many websites report the results of global happiness and wellbeing surveys, giving rankings of all countries. Here are some I have found useful:

Reports and studies from the last decade

Photo: MorgueFile.

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