They say money can’t buy you happiness, but a fascinating new study begs to differ – and names the amounts that keep people around the world content with their lot.
Researchers have revealed the optimum amount of money per year citizens in 173 countries need to be happy, along with the annual salaries that’ll keep the denizens of 63 U.S cities and 29 UK cities and towns cheerful.
According to the study, any amount above these optimum income points ‘has no effect on an individual’s happiness’.
Iran has the highest cost of happiness in the world, with its people requiring an annual income of $239,700/£191,906 to be happy. Yemen is ranked second ($172,140/£137,817), followed by Australia, whose citizens need a princely sum of $188,727AUS ($121,191/£97,026) to maintain the contentment levels.
The rest of the top 10 country list comprises Zimbabwe (fourth, $118,342/£94,745); Norway (fifth, $117,724/£94,251); Switzerland (sixth, $115,745/£92,666); New Zealand (seventh, $114,597/£91,747); Israel (eighth, $112,506/£90,073); Iceland in ninth ($111,908/£89,594) and the United States in tenth, with its people needing $105,000/£84,064 to stay happy.
They say money can’t buy you happiness, but a fascinating new study begs to differ – and names the amounts that keep people around the world content with their lot
According to the study, by S Money, happiness is most affordable in Sierra Leone, Africa, where happiness levels off with an income of $8,658/£6,931. Just behind Sierra Leone is Suriname in South America, where a yearly income of $10,255/£8,210 will keep misery at bay most efficiently. Next in the ‘lowest price per year for happiness’ list comes Madagascar ($11,355/£9,090).
The rest of this ranking comprises Guyana (fourth, $11,707/£9,372); Sudan (fifth, $11,845/£9,483); Nicaragua (sixth, $11,941/£9,560); Colombia (seventh, $12,159/£9,734); The Gambia (eighth, $12,597/£10,085); Bolivia (ninth, $12,795/£10,243) and finally Ghana (10th, $12,949/£10,367).
The UK comes 18th on the overall list, with Britons needing an average of £68,404 ($85,440) per year to be upbeat.
Happiness is most affordable in Sierra Leone, Africa, where happiness levels off with an income of $8,658/£6,931
However, for those living in the UK’s capital, London, happiness levels off at a higher salary bracket – $103,083/£79,524. London tops the price-of-contentment table for UK cities and towns, with Cambridge second ($96,971/£74,808) and Guildford in Surrey third ($96,276/£74,273).
Happiness is cheapest in Leicester, according to the study. There, $79,188/£61,117 per year is the saturation point for feelings of bonhomie.
Over in the U.S, Santa Barbara in California is the city with the highest cost of happiness – $162,721/£130,276, followed by Honolulu ($148,943/£119,251) and New York ($145,028/£116,116), while Knoxville (Tennessee) is the American city with the lowest cost of happiness – $88,032/£70,482, with Cincinnati in Ohio ($93,398/£74,779) sitting just above it in the list.
In the UK, happiness is cheapest in Leicester. There, $79,188/£61,117 per year is the saturation point for feelings of bonhomie
In the U.S, Santa Barbara in California is the city with the highest cost of happiness – $162,721/£130,276, followed by Honolulu ($148,943/£119,251) and New York ($145,028/£116,116)
PRICE OF HAPPINESS PER YEAR IN UK CITIES AND TOWNS
London – $103,083/£79,524 (highest annual income)
Cambridge – $96,971/£74,808
Guildford, Surrey – $96,276/£74,273
Brighton, East Sussex – $93,358/£72,022
Bristol – $91,136/£70,307
Oxford – $90,997/£70,219
Reading – $90,580/£69,897
Manchester – $88,913/£68,611
Liverpool, Merseyside – $88,357/£68,182
Bournemouth, Dorset – $88,079/£67,968
Glasgow – $87,940/£67,860
Nottingham – $86,829/£66,982
Plymouth, Devon – $86,690/£66,875
Leeds, West Yorkshire – $86,134/£66,446
Belfast – $85,856/£66,232
Derby – $85,301/£65,803
Edinburgh – $85,301/£65,816
Newcastle upon Tyne – $84,745/£65,387
Norwich – $84,606/£65,280
Southampton – $84,189/£64,959
Exeter – $83,078/£64,107
Sheffield – $83,078/£64,107
Cardiff – $82,105/£63,357
Portsmouth – $82,105/£63,369
Coventry – $81,689/£63,047
Aberdeen – $81,411/£62,833
Birmingham – $80,855/£62,404
Dundee – $79,327/£61,224
Leicester – $79,188/£61,117 (lowest annual income)
Source: S Money
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How were the amounts calculated? First, researchers consulted a Purdue University study that analysed the relationship between happiness and income to discover the price of happiness in every country and select cities.
This study recorded the satiation point for Life Evaluation (LE) in U.S dollars for each world region.
S Money said: ‘Life Evaluation is a metric from the World Gallup poll that measures how good an individual considers their life to be. The satiation point of LE refers to the income point at which any further increase in income has no effect on an individual’s happiness.’
It continued: ‘The figures in the study grouped countries into world regions and quoted the satiation points relative to an American’s purchasing power. So, to discover the local price of happiness by country, we converted these figures back to local currencies using country-specific Purchasing Power Ratios sourced from the International Monetary Fund. Purchasing power ratios represent the number of units of local currency that are equal to the buying power of one U.S. dollar in the United States.
‘Finally, we converted local currencies back into U.S. dollars using current exchange rates given by Google Finance. This is the price of happiness.
‘In addition, the team calculated the price of happiness for select cities within each country by adjusting the country price of happiness according to the cost of living value for both cities and countries in indexes by Numbeo.’
For more information visit www.smoney.com.au/blog/the-price-of-happiness-in-every-country.
PRICE OF HAPPINESS PER COUNTRY – THE HIGHEST 10 AND LOWEST 10
COUNTRIES WITH THE HIGHEST PRICE PER YEAR FOR HAPPINESS
1. Iran – $239,700/£191,906
2. Yemen – $172,140/£137,817
3. Australia – $121,191/£97,026
4. Zimbabwe – $118,342/£94,745
5. Norway – $117,724+/£94,251
6. Switzerland – $115,745/£92,666
7. New Zealand – $114,597/£91,747
8. Israel – $112,506/£90,073
9. Iceland – $111,908/£89,594
10. United States – $105,000/£84,064
COUNTRIES WITH THE LOWEST PRICE PER YEAR FOR HAPPINESS
1. Sierra Leone – $8,658/£6,931
2. Suriname – $10,255/£8,210
3. Madagascar – $11,355/£9,090
4. Guyana – $11,707/£9,372
5. Sudan – $11,845/£9,483
6. Nicaragua – $11,941/£9,560
7. Colombia – $12,159/£9,734
8. The Gambia – $12,597/£10,085
9. Bolivia – $12,795/£10,243
10. Ghana – $12,949/£10,367
Source: S Money