Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off one whole year of Unlimited learning. Subscribe for just £249.99 £174.99. New subscribers only. T&Cs apply

Find out more

Does money make you happy?

Increasing income or wealth can lead to an average increase in self-reported happiness levels, but only up to a certain point.

Academic research has found that an increase in a person’s income or wealth can lead to an average increase in their self-reported happiness levels, but only up to a certain point. Beyond this, more money has little long-term impact on happiness. This pattern is also found at a societal level: an increase in a country’s GDP will lead to an increase in average happiness in a less developed country, but other factors have more impact on more developed ones. (Easterlin 2013)

One factor believed to contribute to this effect is that money and the opportunities it can buy are good at helping people to avoid some situations which cause unhappiness and stress, such as certain health problems, malnutrition, lack of education, or insecure and temporary housing. However, when someone has ‘enough’ resources to fulfil their basic needs, other factors, including the choices made in life and the shape of the wider society in which the person lives, have more of an influence on day-to-day happiness than increased wealth. (Kushlev et al, 2015)

Introducing Happy City

Happy City, now known as the Centre for Thriving Places, is a Bristol-based charity that promotes happiness, wellbeing, and a positive quality of life as a policy objective. It also provides education and engagement, particularly among less well-off communities, to give individuals tools to build more happy and satisfying lives.

Easterlin, R. A. (2013), ‘Happiness, Growth and Public Policy’, Economic Inquiry, p. 51: 1-15
Kushlev, K, Dunn, E.W, Lucas, R.E, (2015) ‘Higher Income Is Associated With Less Daily Sadness but not More Daily Happiness’, Social Psychological and Personality Science, Vol 6, Issue 5, pp. 483 – 489
This article is from the free online

Unleash Your Potential: Sustainable Futures

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now