Thursday, April 12, 2012

Happy Monkeys

According to a recent study* published last week by La Nación newspaper, being happy is the main goal for Argentinians. The importance of happiness is greater than love, even, and much greater than wealth, recognition and power.
The study tries to approach different dimensions of happiness. In this part of the study (the second of three parts) the study focuses on the importance of happiness versus other life objectives which are commonly considered vital.

As a first conclusion of this second part of the study, results reveal that being happy is the main objective for Argentinians. Happiness (which was presented to individuals in a list with other words considered equally important in life, such as love and peace) was mentioned in the first place. Love and peace got second and third place. Other words such as recognition, power and wealth were in the last place and considered the least important by the respondents.

The fact that these aspects of life (wealth, power, etc.) are not high on the respondents priority list may be explained by the fact that most people who mentioned happiness as a main goal in life were wealthy people. That is, people who have already achieved (or are close to achieving) objectives of recognition, wealth and power.

In the first part of this study (published last August) 8 out of 10 people had stated that they were in a way, happy. Out of those people, 3 out of 10 stated that they were very happy and 5 out of 10 said that they were really happy. "Argentinians have a positive view on life" the study explains.


Without doubt, relationships, family life, love life and friendship mark the pulse of happiness. The study shows that the more active people are in their relationships the higher the levels of happiness they express.

An example of the importance of relationships is the fact that 91% of those who consider themselves very active in family life are satisfied with their lives versus 59% of those who are not active in family life. "Family is an important concept in Argentinian culture. It is family life that people most relate to happiness. Money, on the other hand, does not appear as a priority. This shows that money is more important when people do not have it than when they do." study says.

One way of measuring happiness is to explore how satisfied people are with their lives. Based on this, the study also reveals other interesting facts.

Eight out of ten people stated that they were happy with their lives. In a scale from one to ten, respondents rated their life satisfaction with an average of 7,9.
The younger the respondents the more satisfaction they expressed. 92% between ages 18 to 24 stated that they were very satisfied with their lives, versus 69% older than 65.

Life satisfaction is higher among those who reached higher education levels (94% of those who finished college, 88% of those who finished high school and 77% of those who finished middle school).

There is no gender difference. Men and women show the same levels of satisfaction.

The number of people who state that they are satisfied with their life has increased in number in that last three decades. In 1984, 59% stated that they were satisfied with their life, while in 2011 83% stated that they were satisfied. This contradicts the common thought that Argentinians feel that all past times were better.

"Today, people evaluate their subjective well-being more profoundly than before. These changes may be related to the democratization of countries, the increase in social tolerance and economic development."

*TNS Gallup y la Universidad de Palermo

Source: La Nación
Translation: Michelle Cameron

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