Poll finds joy on rise in majority of nations

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“Though happiness levels are rising in the world as a whole, the report comes at an interesting time for Americans, when recent public opinion polls report striking dissatisfaction with the direction of U.S. affairs,” the survey said.

“Americans’ dissatisfaction with the country’s current direction pulls down their sense of subjective well-being. But this is partly offset by other factors,” said Mr. Inglehart. “The fact that Americans live in a free and tolerant society has more impact on happiness than economic prosperity or even additional income.”

The survey was published in the July issue of the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science.

Administrative and organizational costs for the research were funded by the National Science Foundation and the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation, though research teams from most nations who participated were financed primarily by local scientific foundations.

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