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Map the relationship between wealth and happiness, by country

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The relationship between wealth and happiness, by country

Throughout history, the pursuit of happiness has been a concern of mankind.

Of course, we humans not only measure our own happiness, but also our happiness in relation to the people around us โ€“ and even other people in the world. The annual World Happiness Report, which uses data from global surveys to report on how people rate their own lives in more than 150 countries, helps us do just that.

The factors that contribute to happiness are as subjective and specific as the billions of humans they influence, but there are a few that have continued to resonate over time. Family. To like. Objective. Wealth. The first three examples are difficult to measure, but the last ones can be analyzed based on the data.

Does Money Really Bring Happiness? Letโ€™s find out.

Wealth and Happiness

To analyze the numbers, we looked at data from Credit Suisse, which breaks down the average wealth per adult in various countries around the world.

The table below examines 146 countries according to their happiness score and wealth per adult:

Country Median wealth per adult (US$) Happiness score
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Finland 73,775 7.8
๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Denmark 165,622 7.6
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ธ Iceland 231,462 7.6
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ Switzerland 146,733 7.5
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Israel 80,315 7.4
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ช Sweden 89,846 7.4
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ด Norway 117,798 7.4
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Netherlands 136 105 7.4
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡บ Luxemburg 259,899 7.4
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡น Austria 91,833 7.2
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฟ New Zealand 171,624 7.2
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ Australia 238,072 7.2
๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Germany 65,374 7.0
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ United States 79,274 7.0
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช Ireland 99,028 7.0
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Canada 125,688 7.0
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Czech Republic 23,794 6.9
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง United Kingdom 131,522 6.9
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ช Belgium 230,548 6.8
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡งFrance 133,559 6.7
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ญ Bahrain 14,520 6.6
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ท Costa Rica 14,662 6.6
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ช United Arab Emirates 21,613 6.6
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Slovenia 67,961 6.6
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Saudi Arabia 15,495 6.5
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡พUruguay 22,088 6.5
๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ด Romania 23,675 6.5
๐Ÿ‡ฝ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Kosovo 46,087 6.5
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Singapore 86,717 6.5
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ผ Taiwan 93,044 6.5
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Spain 105,831 6.5
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น Italy 118,885 6.5
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡น Lithuania 29,679 6.4
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Slovakia 45,853 6.4
๐Ÿ‡ถ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Qatar 83,680 6.4
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡น Malta 84,390 6.4
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ท Brazil 3,469 6.3
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฆ Panama 13,147 6.3
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡น Guatemala 30,586 6.3
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ช Estonia 38,901 6.3
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Nicaragua 3,694 6.2
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Kazakhstan 12,029 6.2
๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ธ Serbia 14,954 6.2
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Chile 17,747 6.2
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ป Latvia 33,884 6.2
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡พ Cyprus 35,300 6.2
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Uzbekistan 7,821 6.1
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ป Salvador 11,372 6.1
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฝ Mexico 13,752 6.1
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฑ Poland 23,550 6.1
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡บ Hungary 24 126 6.1
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡บ Mauritius 27,456 6.1
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ผ Kuwait 28,698 6.1
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ท Croatia 34,945 6.1
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ท Argentina 2,157 6.0
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ณ Honduras 15,380 6.0
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡น Portugal 61,306 6.0
๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต Japan 122,980 6.0
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ญ Philippines 3,155 5.9
๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Jamaica 5,976 5.9
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฉ Moldova 7,577 5.9
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ญ Thailand 8,036 5.9
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ท Greece 57,595 5.9
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ท South Korea 89,671 5.9
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Kyrgyzstan 2,238 5.8
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ณ Mongolia 2,546 5.8
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ด Colombia 4,854 5.8
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡พ Belarus 12,168 5.8
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฆ Bosnia and Herzegovina 15,283 5.8
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡พ Malaysia 8,583 5.7
๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ด Dominican Republic 22,701 5.7
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡พ Paraguay 3,644 5.6
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ด Bolivia 3,804 5.6
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ช Peru 5,445 5.6
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ China 24,067 5.6
๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿ‡ณ Vietnam 4,559 5.5
๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ Russia 5,431 5.5
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡จ Ecuador 5,444 5.5
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ฒ Turkmenistan 9,030 5.5
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ช Montenegro 30,739 5.5
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ต Nepal 1,437 5.4
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ฏ Tajikistan 1,844 5.4
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Armenia 9,411 5.4
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฌ Bulgaria 17,403 5.4
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Hong Kong SAR 173,768 5.4
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡พ Libya 6,512 5.3
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฉBangladesh 3,062 5.2
๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฆ South Africa 4,523 5.2
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฉ Indonesia 4,693 5.2
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Azerbaijan 5,022 5.2
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Ivory Coast 6,621 5.2
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Albania 15,363 5.2
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฐ North Macedonia 51,788 5.2
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Gambia 658 5.2
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ท Liberia 1,464 5.1
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Laos 1,610 5.1
๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Algeria 2,302 5.1
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฆUkraine 2,529 5.1
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Morocco 3,874 5.1
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Congo 582 5.1
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ณ Senegal 1,570 5.0
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ช Georgia 4,223 5.0
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Gabon 4,685 5.0
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Mozambique 345 5.0
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ช Nigeria 492 5.0
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Cameroon 941 5.0
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ญ Ghana 2,198 4.9
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ถ Iraq 6,378 4.9
๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿ‡ช Venezuela 7,341 4.9
iran 7,621 4.9
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ณ Guinea 938 4.9
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ท Turkey 8,001 4.7
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ซ Burkina Faso 622 4.7
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Comoros 1,466 4.6
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Nigeria 1,474 4.6
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ญ Cambodia 2,031 4.6
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Uganda 646 4.6
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฏ Benin 890 4.6
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฐ Pakistan 2,187 4.5
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Namibia 3,677 4.5
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ชKenya 3,683 4.5
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ณ Tunisia 6,177 4.5
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Mali 869 4.5
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Burma 2,458 4.4
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ฐSri Lanka 8,802 4.4
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฉ DR Congo 356 4.4
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ฌ Egypt 6,329 4.3
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ฉ Chad 355 4.3
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Madagascar 666 4.3
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ท Mauritania 1,037 4.2
๐Ÿ‡พ๐Ÿ‡ช Yemen 1,223 4.2
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡น Ethiopia 1,527 4.2
๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ด Jordan 10,842 4.2
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ฌ Togo 468 4.1
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณ India 3,194 3.8
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ผMalawi 606 3.8
๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Zambia 692 3.8
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ฟ Tanzania 1,433 3.7
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡น Haiti 193 3.6
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Sierra Leone 370 3.6
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ผ Botswana 3,680 3.5
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ธ Lesotho 264 3.5
๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ผ Rwanda 1,266 3.3
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ง Lebanon 18,159 3.0
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ธ South Sudan 2,677 2.9
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ซ Afghanistan 734 2.4

Although the results do not definitively indicate that wealth contributes to happiness, there is a strong correlation across the board. Generally speaking, the poorest countries in the world have the lowest happiness scores and the richest are the happiest.

Regional and national observations

While many countries follow an obvious trend (more wealth = more happiness), there are nuances and outliers worth exploring.

  • In Latin Americapeople report more happiness than the trend between wealth and happiness would predict.
  • On the other hand, many countries in the Middle East report slightly less happiness than wealth levels predict.
  • Political unrest, economic crisis and the devastating explosion in Beirut have resulted in Lebanon score much worse than one would expect. Over the past decade, the countryโ€™s score has fallen by nearly two full points.
  • hong kong has seen his happiness score plummet for years. Inequality, protests, instability and now COVID-19 outbreaks have placed the region in an unusual area on the map: rich and unhappy.

Examine inequality and happiness

Weโ€™ve looked at the relationship between wealth and happiness across countries, but what about in countries?

The Gini coefficient is a tool that allows us to do just that. This measure examines the income distribution within a population and applies a score to that population. In simple terms, a score of 0 would correspond to โ€œperfect equalityโ€ and a score of 1 to โ€œperfect inequalityโ€ (i.e. an individual or group of beneficiaries receives the entire distribution of income).

Combined with the same happiness scale as before, this is how countries form.

While no ironclad conclusions can be drawn from this dataset, there are some overarching observations worth highlighting.

The 15 countries with the highest income inequality

Countries with high inequalities Happiness score Gini score
๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฆ South Africa 5.2 0.63
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Namibia 4.5 0.59
๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Zambia 3.8 0.57
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ด Colombia 5.8 0.54
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Mozambique 5.0 0.54
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ผ Botswana 3.5 0.53
๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ผ Zimbabwe 3.0 0.50
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฆ Panama 6.3 0.50
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ท Costa Rica 6.6 0.49
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ท Brazil 6.3 0.49
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡น Guatemala 6.3 0.48
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ณ Honduras 6.0 0.48
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ซ Burkina Faso 4.7 0.47
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡จ Ecuador 5.5 0.47
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Cameroon 5.0 0.47
Medium 5.2 52

First, countries with lower income inequality also tend to report more happiness. The 15 countries in this dataset with the highest inequality (shown above) have an average happiness score 1.3 lower than the 15 countries with the lowest inequality (shown below) .

The 15 countries with the lowest income inequality

Low inequality countries happy score Gini score
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Slovakia 6.4 23.2
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡พ Belarus 5.8 24.4
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Slovenia 6.6 24.4
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Armenia 5.4 25.2
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Czech Republic 6.9 25.3
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฆUkraine 5.1 25.6
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฉ Moldova 5.9 26
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ช United Arab Emirates 6.6 26
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ธ Iceland 7.6 26.1
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ช Belgium 6.8 27.2
๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Denmark 7.6 27.7
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Finland 7.8 27.7
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ด Norway 7.4 27.7
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Kazakhstan 6.2 27.8
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ท Croatia 6.1 28.9
Medium 6.5 26

Then, interesting regional differences emerge.

Despite high income inequality, many Latin American countries have similar levels of happiness to many much wealthier European countries.

The essential

People have been seeking to understand happiness for millennia now, and sliced โ€‹โ€‹and dice datasets are unlikely to crack the code. Yet, like the pursuit of happiness, the pursuit of understanding is human nature.

And, more concretely, the more policymakers and the public understand the connection between wealth and happiness, the more we can shape societies that give us a better chance of living a happy life.

Where does this data come from?

Source: Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook 2021, World Happiness Report 2022, World Bank

Data Notes: This visualization includes countries that had data on happiness and wealth per adult. Credit Suisse notes that due to incomplete data, the following countries are estimates of average wealth per adult: North Macedonia, Kosovo, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Uzbekistan, Ivory Coast and South Sudan. Happiness data for countries are from the 2022 report, except for Qatar, DRC, Haiti and South Sudan, which are from the 2019 report. For Gini coefficient calculations, only countries with data from 2014 were included. As a result, major economies such as India and Japan are excluded from this visualization.

Note on the graph: Wealth axis has been plotted logarithmically to better visually show the trend. This approach is often used when a small number of results skew the visualization, making it more difficult to gain insight. In this case, there are great extremes between the richest and poorest countries in the world.