Measuring Happiness

A number of polls measure happiness on a world scale. Here are a few of the most significant polls and what they address:

World Database of Happiness: Started in 1984, this collection of thousands of scientific research reports on happiness from around the world, compiled by Ruut Veenhoven at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, examines the subjective enjoyment of life, including feelings correlated with happiness, and how nations around the world compare with one another in terms of happiness levels.

World Values Survey: This worldwide network of social scientists has conducted surveys in 97 nations since 1981. Conducted in five waves, in collaboration with the European Values Study, the surveys assess the impact of changing values on social and political life.

Gallup World Poll: This poll, which synthesizes survey information from 155 countries, uses Gallup's global information gathering resources to identify the strengths and challenges faced by different countries and regions. Subjects were asked questions about economic conditions, government and business, health care and well-being, infrastructure and education, and life satisfaction.

Latinobarómetro: This public opinion survey is conducted annually in 18 Latin American countries with more than 400 million people and measures public opinion, attitudes, and behaviors on topics including trade, democracy, trust in institutions, and other topical issues pertaining to Latin American countries.

Eurobarometer: Conducted by the Public Opinion Analysis sector of the European Commission, the Eurobarometer has measured public perception of quality of life in various European cities.

Published with permission of the National Geographic Society from the book Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way by Dan Buettner. Copyright© 2010 Dan Buettner. Available wherever books are sold.


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