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The World is a Happier Place

July 17, 2008

Researchers and academics have long believed happiness is a fairly stable trait. Although certain major life events (a death or surprise money) can bump your happiness level in one direction or the other, it generally won’t last. The idea of shifting an entire nation’s happiness seemed downright silly, and yet it has happened around the world. The World Values Survey, from the University of Michigan (go Blue!) came back with surprising results this year: the world is a happier place. Since 1981, these good folks have asked 2 basic questions, one on overall happiness and one on overall life satisfaction, in 97 nations, which contain 90% of the world’s population. 52 nations have 17 years of data, and 40 of these have seen increases in happiness with only 12 reporting declines. How is this sex-positive news? The researchers attributed at least some of this substantial raise in happiness and satisfaction to “Economic growth, democratization, and rising social tolerance.” These social tolerances include increases in gender equality, and better situations for ethnic and sexual minorities in “developed societies.” All of this contributes to an atmosphere in which people have a greater range of options for living their life, something the authors note is key to human happiness.

Source article from Michigan Today – here

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