Are most people happy?


Myers and Diener (1995) asked “Who is happy?” but examined the question of who is more and who is less happy In fact, most people report a positive level of subjective well-being (SWB), and say that they are satisfied with domains such as marriage, work, and leisure People in disadvantaged groups on average report positive well-being, and measurement methods in addition to self-report indicate that most people’s affect is primarily pleasant Cross-national data suggest that there is a positive level of SWB throughout the world, with the possible exception of very poor societies In 86% of the 43 nations for which nationally representative samples are available the mean SWB response was above neutral Several hypotheses to explain the positive levels of SWB are discussed.

Source: “Most People Are Happy” from Psychological Science, doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.1996.tb00354.x

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