While many of us long to have a pay rise, researchers say that even doubling your salary won’t make you a great deal happier. According to a study from the London School of Economics, relationsips increase a person’s happiness much more than economic factors.
The study authors looked at data from 200,000 people worldwide, looking at how different factors related to their overall sense of wellbeing. Participants happiness was rated on a scale of one to ten.
According to the research team, doubling a person’s wages saw only a 0.2 increase in happiness. Meanwhile, having a partner to share life with resulted in a rise of 0.6. Losing a partner, either through death or the result of a break up led to a decrease in feelings of wellbeing by the same amount.
The factors most responsible for making people feel less happy were unemployment and mental health issues. While salary may not have had much of an impact on happiness, people who were unemployed had 0.7 fewer points on average. Depression and anxiety disordered reduced happiness by the same amount.
Happiness not wealth
Co-author Richard Layard is now calling on the government to play more of a role in ensuring that the things that make people truly happy are nourished, instead of simply concentrating on the economy.
He said that evidence showed that the factors which mattered most for happiness are relationships, and mental and physical health. He said that the state therefore needed to concentrate on wellbeing creation, rather than wealth creation.
My Layard added: “In the past, the state has successively taken on poverty, unemployment, education and physical health. But equally important now are domestic violence, alcoholism, depression and anxiety conditions, alienated youth, exam-mania and much else. These should become centre stage.” His findings will be presented at a major conference on wellbeing.