A new study out of the U.K. shows that individual happiness is affected more by relationships than by money, proving the old adage: ‘money doesn’t buy happiness.’
The London School of Economics studied the survey results of 200,000 participants from around the world and found that being in a relationship had the most significant positive affect on a person’s happiness, whereas financial wealth had a much smaller impact.
One a scale of one to 10, doubling a person’s income increased their happiness rating by less than 0.2, whereas having a partner increased their happiness by 0.6. Which means a person’s overall wealth is not as important as his or her relationships with others.
As for things that negatively affected a person’s happiness, losing a partner through break up or death saw a drop of 0.6, while depression and anxiety as well as unemployment caused the biggest decrease in general.
Professor Richard Layard, who co-authored the study, believes that the findings should be used to guide social services and inform governments on where to invest money. “In the past, the state has successively taken on poverty, unemployment, education and physical health,” said Layard. “But equally important now are domestic violence, alcoholism, depression and anxiety conditions, alienated youth, exam-mania and much else. These should become centre stage.”
The study, which asked participants “Overall how satisfied are you with your life, these days?”, was conducted specifically for a conference at the London School of Economics. The event aimed to put the happiness of a population at the forefront of decision making.
Quoting Thomas Jefferson, the researchers point out that “The care of human life and happiness… is the only legitimate object of good government.” And to quote Pharrell Williams, “Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth.” Essentially, they’re both saying the same thing: that it’s important to make decisions that’ll ultimately lead you to being happy (money or no money).