What makes people happy references

This page last updated June 13th, 2016

This page in brief

This page provides references I used to write the pages on happiness, and thus where to get more information on how to be happy.

The information on happiness on this website 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 Values Survey

The World Values Survey shows the variation in wellbeing across 65 countries that include 80% of the world’s population. Worth looking at are:

  • Subjective well-being rankings of 82 societies by R Inglehart
  • Genes, Culture, Democracy and Happiness by Inglehart and Klingemann

    This report shows that people in 90% of countries surveyed are generally happy,and about 75% of people worldwide are satisfied and happy with their lives. The more wealthy, democratic, formerly protestant countries of Europe generally score the highest, whereas most former communist countries score lowest.

  • Modernization, cultural change and the persistence of traditional values by Inglehart & Baker
  • You can read summaries of the survey’s findings, view the actual data, download data files or analyse it online, and read many other pubications.

World Happiness Report

World Happiness Report, produce for the UN and based on a Gallup world survey, is the most recent global report I have seen. Sections can be downloaded.

The Australian Unity Wellbeing Survey

The Wellbeing Index is based on interviews with thousands of Australians over the last few years. Information is published in reports on the website (e.g. You know what makes you happy – so why aren’t you doing it?) and a summary of the findings of the research can be downloaded.

Harvard Grant Study

A 75 year study of the lives of 268 Harvard graduates:

The Australia Institute

An Australian think tank has studied and reported on happiness and material prosperity:

Religion & Society Research

This UK research organisation has published many papers on religion, society and happiness:

Reports and studies from the last decade

Positive Psychology

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

Photo: MorgueFile.

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