In Figures: The economics of happiness

Greater affluence does not appear to lead to greater contentment, but where on earth is the happiest place to live?

by Steve Lodge, World Business

1 MONEY ISN'T EVERYTHING

Despite being more than twice as rich as their counterparts 50 years ago, Americans say they are no happier. Studies in other industrialised countries show similar results, with the average person no more content with their lot, even though they enjoy markedly more comfortable lives with higher real incomes and much greater consumer choice. But in what could be seen as a feather in the cap for globalisation, economic growth appears to raise the average level of happiness in developing countries - unsurprisingly, money makes more of a difference to those nearer the breadline. However, once a nation's average income hits $20,000 and basic wants are satisfied, that link between wealth and human contentment is lost, according to leading 'happiness' economist Richard Layard.

2 WHERE TO FIND HAPPINESS

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