Subjective well‐being and human welfare around the world as reflected in the Gallup World Poll

Ed Diener, Louis Tay
Published Online:
22 Jan 2015
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 50 Issue 2

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We present data on well‐being and quality of life in the world, including material quality of life such as not going hungry, physical health quality of life such as longevity, social quality of life such as social support, environmental health such as clean water, equality in income and life satisfaction, and levels of subjective well‐being (SWB). There are large differences between nations in SWB, and these are predicted not only by economic development, but also by environmental health, equality and freedom in nations. Improving trends in SWB are seen in many countries, but declining SWB is evident in a few. Besides average differences in SWB between nations, there are also large disparities within many countries. We discuss the policy opportunities provided by national accounts of SWB, which are increasingly being adopted by many societies. They provide the opportunity to inform policy deliberations with well‐being information that reflects not only economic development, but also other facets of quality of life as well. National accounts of SWB reflect the quality of life in areas such as health, social relationships and the natural environment, and therefore capture a broader view of societal well‐being than afforded by measures of economic progress alone.

© 2015 International Union of Psychological Science