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
Harvard Grant Study
An 80 year study of the lives of 268 Harvard graduates:
- Good genes are nice, but joy is better. Liz Mineo, Harvard Gazette, 2017.
- This 75-Year Harvard Study Found the 1 Secret to Leading a Fulfilling Life Melanie Curtin, Inc, 2017.
- The 75-Year Study That Found The Secrets To A Fulfilling Life. Carolyn Gregoire, Huffington Post, 11 Aug 2013.
- What Makes Us Happy? Joshue Wolf Shenk, The Atlantic, June 2009.
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.
A new branch of psychology which focuses on helping people live happier lives:
- Authentic Happiness – a website of the University of Pennsylvania Positive Psychology Center.
- Happier and Values in Action – commercial websites based on positive psychology principles.
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:
- The Economist: World in Figures has global information on 48 different aspects of life.
- The OECD has good statistics on scores of metrics.
- Worldometer – demographics of the world population
- Social Progress Imperative on the Social Progress Index.
- Quality of Life index by Numbeo and US News.
- Urban Institute on longevity and health.
- Visual Capitalist on wealth vs happiness.
- Wikipedia is always useful, for example, on OECD Better Life Index, per capita GDP, income equality, suicide, poverty, gun violence and happiness
Reports and studies from the last decade
- The Global Analysis of Wellbeing Report, 2018. Oxford Foundation for Knowledge Exchange, 2018.
- A Harvard psychiatrist says 3 things are the secret to real happiness. Tanya Lewis, Business Insider, Australia, 2015.
- Life satisfaction across life course transitions. The Australian Institute of Family Studies (a Government research body), Lixia Qu and David de Vaus, 2015.
- The 8 Most Important Things We’ve Learned About Happiness In The Past 10 Years. Carolyn Gregoire, Huffington Post, 2015.
- Why Chasing ‘Extrinsic Goals’ Can Wreck Your Happiness. Drake Baer, Business Insider Australia, Jul 23 2014.
- Love People, Not Pleasure. Arthur C. Brooks. New York Times, July 18 2014.
- Why Seeking More Money Hurts Happiness. Philip Moeller, US News, April 9, 2012.
- The Problem with Happiness. Todd Kashdann, Huffpost Healthy Living, 30 Sept 2010.