Recent Study Debunks Money-Happiness Link; Finns No Longer World’s Happiest, Report Claims

Recent Study Debunks Money-Happiness Link; Finns No Longer World’s Happiest, Report Claims

It is not necessarily the Finns who are the happiest people in the world, a new study suggests. The study finds that those living in remote and relatively poor indigenous communities are ahead of the Finns in terms of happiness.

This research, which has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, a leading scientific journal, and reported by The Guardian, challenges common beliefs about wealth and happiness.

The study begins by acknowledging the prevalent view that while money may not be able to buy happiness, wealthier people often report higher levels of satisfaction with their lives. This could lead to the interpretation that material wealth is crucial to achieving happiness.

However, this new study has focused on interviewing individuals from small, isolated communities, many of which are indigenous. Their reported experiences contradict the perceived correlation between wealth and happiness.

The study reports that despite the respondents having a small monetary income, they expressed high levels of satisfaction with their lives. Some communities even reported levels of satisfaction equal to those living in rich countries.

The research involved interviewing 2,966 people from 19 different communities worldwide. The average level of life satisfaction reported by these respondents was either equal to or higher than that of the average person in a wealthy country.

For instance, the average score in the OECD’s happiness measurement, covering all countries, has been around 6.7 (on a scale of 1–10, where 10 is the happiest). However, the respondents from small communities estimated their life satisfaction to be around 6.8 points on average.

Some of these respondents even surpassed the Finns, who are often referred to as the happiest people in the world. The Finns’ score has been around 7.8–7.9 in recent years. However, the study found that four communities reported a happiness score of eight, indicating higher life satisfaction than the Finns.

Several communities swiftly exceed Finland in terms of happiness scores. These include the Kolla Atacameña community in Argentina (with a reported score of 8), the Pãi Tavyterã community in Paraguay (8.2), the Riberinho community in Brazil (8.4), and a farming community in the highlands of Guatemala (8.6). Among the respondents from the highlands of Guatemala, 30 out of 70 people reported complete satisfaction with their lives, giving themselves a perfect score of 10.