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What is the price of happiness?

A new study reveals the different prices of happiness in 173 countries

Published: Sep 20, 2023 11:27:53 AM IST
Updated: Sep 20, 2023 11:31:16 AM IST

What is the price of happiness?Money can't buy happiness, but it can help.... and the cost of happiness isn't the same depending on the country you live in. Image: Shutterstock

Happiness, it would seem, has a price! But that price isn't the same depending on where in the world you live. If you live in Iran, you'd have to earn US$239,700 a year, whereas in Portugal you could be happy on US$61,237. A new study reveals the different prices of happiness in 173 countries.

The famous saying tells us that "money can't buy happiness." Of course, when someone invokes this age-old expression, one often hears the retort "but it does help." Except that the financial resources required to achieve this will differ depending on whether you live in the UK (US$85,440) or Sierra Leone (8,658 dollars). In France, for example, you'd have to earn $79,602 a year, or around 75,000 euros, to be happy, whereas in Australia this well-being would come at a higher cost, in the region of $121,191.

Why are these figures so different?

These figures have been put together in a report by S Money. To put together this comparison of the price of happiness in no less than 173 countries, the analysis used data from an American scientific study carried out by Purdue University and released in 2018, the aim of which was to pinpoint the salary needed to be happy, depending on where you live in the world. The study determined that it takes an average of $170,000 to be happy, and that beyond this sum, the researchers concluded that the level of happiness did not increase.

To fill out its analysis, this new report from S Money also incorporated data from the World Gallup Poll, which indicates the extent to which an individual considers their life to be satisfying for each country. In addition, the analysis adjusted each of the happiness prices for the cost of living.

Also read: How to live happier in 2023: Diversify your social circle

That's why Iran is the country where it costs the most in the world to be happy: an annual salary of $239,700. Yemen comes in second place, with a satisfying life coming in at a price of $172,140 dollars a year. And happiness is not most financially accessible in Western nations. In addition to Australia in third place, Norway also stands out (5th), with an estimated cost of happiness at  $117,724. Likewise, in Switzerland (6th) happiness doesn't come cheap at an eye-watering $115,745. Meanwhile, in the country ranked as happiest in the world for the last six years according to the World Happiness Report, happiness isn't accessible to everyone: you need an annual salary of 94,177 dollars in Finland, already highlighted by a previous study.

Countries including Sierra Leone  ($8;658), Suriname ($10,255) and Madagascar ($11,355) are the places in the world where happiness is most accessible.

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