Happiness level (average) in nations

Overall happiness    Hedonic level of affect   Contentment    Mixed Items   %unhappy  Happiness in publics in nations

Overall happiness

Variable1 Measurement Era2 SPSS code N Source3
Happiness 3-step verbal scale
Typical item:
Taking all together, how happy would you say you are these days?
- very happy
- fairly happy
- not too happy
late 1940s

HappinessHL3_1940s

7 WDH table 111B
<1960s

happinessHL3_1960s

9
1970s

HappinessHL3_1970s

18
1980s

HappinessHL3_1980s

15
1990s

HappinessHL3_1990s

13
4-step verbal scale
Typical item:
Taking all together, how happy would you say you are these days?
- very happy
- happy
- unhappy
- very unhappy
1980s

HappinessHL4_1980s

25 WDH table 111C
1990s

HappinessHL4_1990s

69
early 2000s

HappinessHL4_2000s

51
5-step verbal scale
Typical item:
Taking all together, how happy would you say you are these days?
- very happy
- happy
- neither happy nor unhappy
- unhappy
- very unhappy
1970s

HappinessHL5_1970s

10 WDH table 111D
1980s

HappinessHL5_1980s

16
1990s

HappinessHL5_1990s

18
3+4+5 step verbal scales transformed to range 0-104
1970s

HappinessHLt_1970s

23 WDH table 111B
+
WDH table 111C
+
WDH table 111D
1980s

HappinessHLt_1980s

29
1990s

HappinessHLt_1990s

74
Life satisfaction 3-step verbal scale
Typical item:
Taking all together, how satisfied are you with your life as a whole these days?
- satisfied
- so so
- dissatisfied
early 1940s

HappinessLS3_1948

7 WDH table 121B
4-step verbal scale
Typical item:
Taking all together, how satisfied are you with your life as a whole these days?
- very satisfied
- satisfied
- dissatisfied
- very dissatisfied
1970s

HappinessLS4_1970s

10 WDH table 121C
1980s

HappinessLS4_1980s

14
1990s

HappinessLS4_1990s

40
early 2000s

HappinessLS4_2000s

56
5-step verbal scale
Typical item:
Taking all together, how satisfied are you with your life as a whole these days?
- very satisfied
- satisfied
- neither satisfied not dissatisfied
- dissatisfied
- very dissatisfied
1970s

HappinessLS5_1970s

10 WDH table 121D
1980s

HappinessLS5_1980s

15
1990s

HappinessLS5_1990s

10
early 2000s

HappinessLS5_2000s

2
3+4+5-step verbal scales transformed to range 0-105
1970s

HappinessLSst_1970s

17 WDH table 121B
+
WDH table 121C
+
WDH table 121D
1980s

HappinessLSst_1980s

19
1990s

HappinessLSst_1990s

48
10-step numerical scale
Typical item:
Taking all together, how satisfied are you with your life-as-a-whole these days?
1 very dissatisfied > 10 very satisfied

transformed to range 0-106
1970-1979
HappinessLS10_1970s
18 WDH table 122F
1980-1989

HappinessLS10_1980s

22
1990-1999

HappinessLS10_1990s

71
2000-2009

HappinessLS10_2000s

87
11-step numerical scale
Typical item:
Taking all together, how satisfied are you with your life-as-a-whole these days?
0 very dissatisfied > 10 very satisfied
1970-1979
HappinessLS11_1970s

18 WDH table 122G
1980-1989

HappinessLS11_1980s

12
1990-1999

HappinessLS11_1990s

11
2000-2009

HappinessLS11_2000s

125
2010-    
10+11 step numerical scales transformed to range 0-10 1970-1979
HappinessLS10.11_1970s
18

WDH table 122F
+
WDH table 122G

1980-1989
HappinessLS10.11_1980s
25
1990-1999
HappinessLS10.11_1990s
72
2000-2009
HappinessLS10.11_2000s
151
2010-
 
 
1975-1984
HappinessLS10.11_1975.1984
29
1984-1994
HappinessLS10.11_1985-1994
43
1995-2004
HappinessLS10.11_1995_2004
88
2005-2014
HappinessLS10.11_2005-2014
159
Change over time 1970s-80s
HappinessLS10.11_Change 1970s-1980s
14 Computed subtracting later from earlier LS10.11
1970s-90s
HappinessLS10.11_Change 1970s-1990s
18
1970s-00s
HappinessLS10.11_Change 1970s-2000s
18
1980s-90s
HappinessLS10.11_Change 1980s-1990s
22
1980s-00s
HappinessLS10.11_Change 1980s-2000s
21
1990s-00s
HappinessLS10.11_Change 1990s-2000s
70
2000s-10s
 
 
1975-1984
1985-1994
HappinessLS10.11_Change 1975.84_1985.94
26
1975-1984
1995-2004
HappinessLS10.11_Change 1975.84_1995.2004
42
1985-1994
1995-2004
HappinessLS10.11_Change 1985-1994_1995.2004
29
1975-1984
2005-2014
HappinessLS10.11_Change 1974-84_2005-2014
 
1985-1994
2005-2014
HappinessLS10.11_Change 1985-1994_2005-2014  
1995-1994
2005-2014
HappinessLS10.11_Change 1995-2004_2005-2014  

Hedonic level of affect

Variable Measurement Era SPSS code N Source
Affect balance
last weeks
Affect Balance Scale: 10 item scale
Typical item:
- During the past few weeks have you felt...?
- That things were going your way (yes/no)
- Lonely and remote from people (yes/no)
      WDH table 222
1970s

HappinessABS_1970s

7
1980s

HappinessABS_1980s

24
1990s

HappinessABS_1990s

39
Affect balance
yesterday
Question: Would you like more days like yesterday?
(yes/no)
2006
HappinessYesterdayAffect1_2006
130 WDH table 231
Question: Did you experience a lot of the day...
- enjoyment
- sadness
(yes/no)
2006
HappinessYesterdayaffect2_2006
130  
Average of Specific Affects: 16 item scale
Typical item:
- Now think about yesterday: Would you like more such days? (yes/no)
- Did you experience the following feeling a lot of the day yesterday? How about enjoyment? (yes/no)
2006
HappinessYesterdayAffect3_2006
130 WDH table
Question: Would you like more days like yesterday? Yes or No?
% yes
2006-2008 HappinessYesterdayOK_2006.08 129 WDH table 235
14 questions on affects experienced yesterday
% positive minus % negative affects
2006-2008 HappinessYesterdayABS_2006.08 129 WDH table 236
2006-2010 HappinessYesterdayABS_2006.10 146 WDH table 236

Contentment

Variable Measurement Era SPSS code N Source
Best-Worst possible life 11 step Cantril ladder
Typical item:
Here is a picture of a ladder, suppose that the top represents the best possible life and the bottom the worst possible life. Where on this ladder would you place your current life?
0 worst possible > 10 best possible
1960s

HappinessBW11_1960s

17 WDH table 31D
1970s

HappinessBW11_1970s

12
<1980s

HappinessBW11_1980s

2
1990s

HappinessBW11_1990

3
early 2000s

HappinessBW11_2000s

44
2006
HappinessBW11_2006
132
2006-09
HappinessBW11Gallup_2006.09
139
11 step scale combined with 10-step scale stretched to 0-10 2000-2008
HappinessBW10.11-2000.08
138 WDH table 31C
+
WDH table 31D
Life fits wants Typical item:
On the whole my life is close to how I would like it to be
- strongly agree
- agree
- neither agree nor disagree
- disagree
- strongly disagree
2006
HappinessLifeFitsWants5_2007
29 WDH table 33D

Combined non-equivalent items

Variable Measurement Era SPSS code N Source
Life satisfaction + Contentment Responses on question on Lifesatisfaction (HappinessLS10.11) completed with estimates based on responses to question on Contentment (HappinessBW11), both on scale 0-10

Estimated life satisfaction = 1.156 x observed score on the Best-Worst item - 0.457.
This formula is based on a regression analysis of 103 nations in which both questions had been used in the same year. The 95% confidence interval around these estimated values is about 1.3 points, which means that these estimates are not very precise.


1960-1969
HappinessLSBW_1960s
14

WDH table 122F
+
WDH table 122G
+
WDH table 31B
+
WDH table 31C

1970-1979
HappinessLSBW_1970s
18
1980-1989
HappinessLSBW_1980s
27
1990-1999

HappinessLSBW_1990s

72
2000-2009
HappinessLSBW_2000s
154
2005-2014

HappinessLSBW_2005-2014

160
Affect + Contentment Diener/Tay index of subjective wellbeing:
1) Here is a picture of a ladder, suppose that the top represents the best possible life and the bottom the worst possible life. Where on this ladder would you place your current life?
0 worst possible > 10 best possible
2) Yesterday affect (yes/no) a: enjoyed, b: angry, c: sad, d: stress
2006-2013

HappinessABS-BW_2010s

163 Diener & Tay 2015, table 1

% unhappy

Variable Measurement Era SPSS code N Source
% dissatisfied with life % below 3 on 10 step life satisfaction 1990-99 LS10_below3_1990s 61 Computed from World Value Surveys 1990, 1995, 1999
% below 4 on 10 step life satisfaction 1990-99 LS10_below4_1990s 64
% below 5 on 10 step life satisfaction 1990-99 LS10_below5_1990s 79
% below 5 on 10 step life satisfaction 2005 LS10_below5_2005 53 Computed from World Values Surveys 2005

Happiness in particular publics

Variable Measurement Era SPSS code N Source
11-15 aged Self report on single question:
Here is a picture of a ladder. The top of the ladder '10' respresents the best possible life for you and the bottom '0' the worst possible life for you.
In general, where on the ladder do you feel you stand at the moment?
0 worst possible > 10 best possible
2001-2006
HappinessBW11_11.15aged_2001.06
37
Currie et al. 2004
Currie et al. 2008

2001-2006 HappinessBW11_11.15agedboys_2001.06
37
2001-2006 HappinessBW11_11.15agedgirls_2001.06
37

1. Only items that concern happiness in the sense of 'subjective appreciation of life-as-a-whole, as assessed in surveys by direct questions' and passed the validity test for inclusion in the World Database of Hapiness.
2. Mean scores per era per country. Mostly based on only one survey, sometimes 10 or more.
3. Data taken from World Database of Happiness (WDH), section 'Distributional Findings in nations'; selected to obtain sets that are comparable across a sufficient number of nations in an era.
4. Transformed to 0-10 by Thurstone transformation. Experts rated response options such as 'very happy' and 'unhappy' on a 0 to 10 point scale. Next average scores were computed on the basis of these weights. See Veenhoven 1993 pp 108-114. An advantage of this method is that responses on different questions can be compared. This yields a greater number of cases. Yet the transformation is discutable.
5. Transformed to 0-10 by Thurstone transformation. Experts rated response options such as 'very satisfied' and 'dissatisfied' on a 0 to 10 point scale. Next average scores were computed on the basis of these weights. See Veenhoven 1993 pp 108-114. An advantage of this method is that responses on different questions can be compared. This yields a greater number of cases. Yet the transformation is discutable.
6. 10 steps stretched to 11. Transformation procedure described in Veenhoven 1993 pp 115.

For an overview of survey items per nation, per era, see caselist


Related variables:
Optimism; see topic Beliefs

Related topics:
Affect
Mental health
Life expectancy
Happy years
Happiness inequality
Happiness in segments
Suicide

Related themes:
Happiness

States of Nations is an inventory of country characteristics. It is part of the World Database of Happiness


Keywords added: Cross-national, Life satisfaction, Well-being