On the Connection Between Happiness and Wealth

Have you ever wondered about the correlation between happiness and wealth – as an individual, or even as a country? Globally, it turns out that there is a high correlation between them – higher GDP leads to greater happiness – but there’s a catch.

If you live in a wealthier country the correlation falls off sharply as the basic needs of citizens are met, to the point where researcher Michael Birkjaer, of the Happiness Research Institute in Denmark, asks whether we are approaching “a cut off point between happiness and prosperity where increases in GDP have little to no effect on wellbeing”.

The notion of whether GDP growth alone can be the measure of wellbeing is a question being asked more and more in “developed” countries. And it is one we at Engage Nova Scotia want to examine deeper.

If we pause to rank the things that make our lives good, how often do we think of the size of our wallets, and how often, for example, do we think of the quality of the relationships we have with others.

We want to augment the discussion about what success looks like to incorporate such things as improved mental health, high quality relationships and reduced social isolation.

If we live in a place where we put improving the quality of the lives of our citizens – all of them – as our predominant question, we will not only live up to our potential but we will become a beacon for other jurisdictions to model.

The article below is a great reference point for this discussion. I hope you enjoy it.