(New) Happiness Survey – Large Scale Study Results

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Last updated on July 23, 2020

We recently conducted a survey amongst the audience of Tracking Happiness (that’s you!)

Our goal?

To provide more objective data on topics that are often quoted throughout the internet.

Based on the results, we have come to multiple interesting conclusions, which are visualized and presented in separate articles.

This page contains general statistics of the survey, links to other specific study results, the methodology and a link to a PDF that summarizes the study.

Introduction

The aim of this large-scale study is to objectively compare data on happiness across different demographics and personality types. More specifically, this study aims to provide more objective data on topics that are often quoted throughout the internet.

For example, that 40% of our happiness is a result of our internal mindset.

Or that happiness is not something we can control.

This study is performed by the team of Tracking Happiness, by conducting a large-scale survey on the email subscribers of the website.

General survey statistics

Everybody knows that happiness is subjective. But how subjective is it really? How much sense does it make to measure something as subjective as happiness?

The survey aims to provide more objective data points on happiness. It goes without saying that the survey participants were asked how happy they were.

Happiness ratings amongst participants

One of the questions of the survey was:

If you look back at the last year of your life, how would you rate your happiness on a scale from 1 to 10?

Here is a histogram of the answers.

happiness ratings general results tracking happiness survey study 2020
Histogram of happiness ratings from the 1,155 survey participants.

The average happiness rating amongst the survey participants was 7.19.

When compared to the World Happiness Report, this average is compared to the happiness of the 13th happiest country in the world: the United Kingdom.

world happiness report life ladder countries 2017-2019
Source: Statistical Appendix for Chapter 2 of World Happiness Report 2020

The World Happiness Report measures a country’s happiness by asking people a similar question. On average, people from the United Kingdom gave their happiness a rating of 7.165.

Most of the readers on Tracking Happiness are from the United States, which is the 18th happiest country with an average of 6.940.

Is happiness controllable?

Happiness is one of the most important things in life.

It only makes sense that we would want to control it as much as possible.

But can we?

This topic was part of our survey. We asked participants the following question.

Is happiness something that you can control?

We can’t control 100% of our happiness. However, we can at least aim to understand 100% of our happiness.

The entire premise of Tracking Happiness is to help you understand 100% of your happiness, so that you can take action and actually become happier.

So it makes sense that the participants of this survey acknowledged that happiness can be controlled.

can happiness be controlled general results tracking happiness survey study 2020
1,025 out of 1,155 participants think that happiness is something we can control.

The vast majority of the participants thinks that happiness is something we can control.

Or in other words, 89% of the participants think that we can influence our own happiness.

can happiness be controlled general results tracking happiness survey study 2020 percent
89% of the participants think that happiness is something you can control.

How does this compare to the average human being?

We don’t know. It’s hard to imagine, but there are no previous survey results similar to this one.

Does this mean that we can control 89% of our happiness on average?

No.

But our survey shows some insightful results that can shed light on this question. This result – and many more observations – are shared in seperate articles.

Seperate articles on the study results

This section contains a growing list of articles of specific observations, analyses and conclusions from our study.

  • Is happiness controllable?
  • What words are most associated with happiness? (to be released soon)
  • Revising the 50-40-10 rule of happiness (to be released soon)
  • How much of our happiness is genetic? (to be released soon)
  • How is happiness understood in other countries (to be released soon)
  • More to be determined

Each of these articles contain original study results, charts and infographics with new insights.

Who was surveyed?

We used our existing audience to conduct a survey. Our How To Be Happy blog attracts thousands of readers every month, who sign up to become subscribers.

As discussed, the premise of Tracking Happiness is to understand 100% of our happiness, so that we can take action and actually become happier.

In that sense, the survey participants might not be representative for the rest of the world. This has to be said, even though the large amount of participants is varied and diverse.

As part of the study, the key demographics of our participants was surveyed. Here is a small sample of the results we collected.

Gender

We asked our participants the following question:

What gender do you identify as?

And found the following answers.

gender general results tracking happiness survey study 2020
The majority of our participants is male (58%)

Age

We also asked their approximate age.

age1 general results tracking happiness survey study 2020
The majority of our participants is within 16 and 30 years old.

Our survey included other key demographs as well, like employment status, ethnicity and marital status.

If you’d like to see a statistical overview of the demographic data, here’s a link to it:

How was the survey conducted?

We used our existing audience to conduct a survey, by sending out an email to all of our subscribers.

initial tracking happiness survey announcement email
If you’ve been subscribed to Tracking Happiness for a while, this email may look familiar!

In addition, the survey was shared across social media and additional email campaigns, to attract a large and diverse number of respondents.

In total, 1,155 responses were recorded, from 23 December 2019 to 19 June 2020.

The survey responses are anonymized. No names were collected, and email addresses have only been used to award the winner of the $100 Amazon gift card.

This was obviously needed for us to assign a lucky random winner, which we contacted recently for the award!

survey contest winner reply
Our survey made at least 1 person happier (our $100 gift card award winner!)

Survey questions and multiple choice answers

The file below contains a global summary of the survey, including an export of the questions that the participants had to answer.

If you want to be part of the next Tracking Happiness survey, then become a subscriber and join our community of happiness trackers. You can use the form below to sign up!

A big thank you to everyone who filled in this survey. It has been wildly interesting to analyze your responses. I hope this series of study results and observations gives you more insight into what makes your happiness unique.

You can become happier too, if only you start to understand what happiness really means to you.

hugo huyer author of tracking happiness small

Hugo Huyer

Founder

Founder of Tracking Happiness and lives in the Netherlands. Ran 5 marathons, with one of them in under 4 hours (3:59:58 to be exact). Data junkie and happiness tracker for over 6 years.