With so much inequality in the world, how can we possibly compare the happiness of the world’s richest and poorest people in a meaningful way? Happiness comes in many different forms and for different reasons. At the same time, many things make people unhappy regardless of where they live: losing a home or a loved one, or going without basic necessities.
Happiness is an aspiration of every human being, and can be a measure of social progress, according to the authors of the 2013 World Happiness Report, one of the first of its kind. They noted that the key to measuring happiness is differentiating between happiness as emotion (“I feel happy”) and as an evaluation of human well-being (“I am happy with my life”).
Their research sought to focus on the latter. Factors such as per capita gross domestic product, healthy years of life expectancy, trust and perceived freedom to make life choices were all considered.