The price of happiness in every country revealed: Fascinating map details the annual salary each nationality needs to be content – so how much cash would keep YOU cheerful?

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  • Reading time:5 min(s) read

  • Researchers have revealed the amount of money per year citizens in 173 countries need to be happy
  • They also divulge the salaries that’ll keep those in 63 US cities and 29 UK cities and towns cheerful
  • READ MORE: Meet the CEO who uses AI bots to attend meetings  and now runs her company from the beach 

Iran has the highest cost of happiness in the world, with its people needing a salary of nearly $239,700US (£200,000) to be satisfied, a survey has revealed.

Researchers claim to have found the optimum amount of money per year that citizens in 173 countries need to be happy, along with the annual salaries that’ll keep the denizens of 63 U.S cities and 29 UK cities and towns cheerful – with any amount above that having ‘no effect on an individual’s happiness’.

While Iran tops the list, with natives requiring some $239,700 (£191,906) to be happy, at the other end of the scale, those living in Sierra Leone only need an income of $8,658 (£6,931) to stay content.

Yemen is ranked second ($172,140/£137,817), followed by Australia, whose citizens need a princely sum of $121,191 (£97,026) to be happy.

The rest of the top ten country list includes Zimbabwe ($118,342/£94,745); Norway ($117,724/£94,251); Switzerland ($115,745/£92,666); New Zealand ($114,597/£91,747); Israel ($112,506/£90,073); Iceland ($111,908/£89,594) and the United States, with its people needing $105,000 (£84,064) to stay happy.

They say money can't buy you happiness, but a fascinating new study begs to differ

They say money can’t buy you happiness, but a fascinating new study begs to differ

The study, by foreign exchange provider S Money, found that happiness is most affordable in Sierra Leone where happiness levels off with an income of $8,658 (£6,931). Just behind Sierra Leone is Suriname where a yearly income of $10,255 (£8,210) will keep misery at bay most efficiently followed by Madagascar ($11,355/£9,090).

The rest of the ranking includes Guyana ($11,707/£9,372); Sudan ($11,845/£9,483); Nicaragua ($11,941/£9,560); Colombia ($12,159/£9,734); The Gambia ($12,597/£10,085); Bolivia ($12,795/£10,243) and finally Ghana (10th, $12,949/£10,367).

The UK comes 18th on the overall list, with Britons needing an average of £68,404 ($85,440) per year to be upbeat.

Happiness is most affordable in Sierra Leone where happiness levels off with an income of $8,658US/£6,931

Happiness is most affordable in Sierra Leone where happiness levels off with an income of $8,658US/£6,931

However, for those living in the UK’s capital, London, happiness levels off at a higher salary bracket – $103,083/£79,524. London tops the price-of-contentment table for UK cities and towns, with Cambridge second ($96,971/£74,808) and Guildford in Surrey third ($96,276/£74,273).

Happiness is cheapest in Leicester, according to the study. There, $79,188/£61,117 per year is the saturation point for feelings of bonhomie.

Over in the U.S, Santa Barbara in California is the city with the highest cost of happiness – $162,721/£130,276, followed by Honolulu ($148,943/£119,251) and New York ($145,028/£116,116). Knoxville, Tennessee, is the American city with the lowest cost of happiness – $88,032/£70,482, with Cincinnati in Ohio ($93,398/£74,779) sitting just above it in the list.

In the UK, happiness is cheapest in Leicester. There, $79,188/£61,117 per year is the saturation point for feelings of bonhomie

In the UK, happiness is cheapest in Leicester. There, $79,188/£61,117 per year is the saturation point for feelings of bonhomie

In the U.S, Santa Barbara in California is the city with the highest cost of happiness - $162,721/£130,276, followed by Honolulu ($148,943/£119,251) and New York ($145,028/£116,116)

In the U.S, Santa Barbara in California is the city with the highest cost of happiness – $162,721/£130,276, followed by Honolulu ($148,943/£119,251) and New York ($145,028/£116,116)

PRICE OF HAPPINESS PER YEAR IN UK CITIES AND TOWNS

London – $103,083US/£79,524 (highest annual income)

Cambridge – $96,971/£74,808

Guildford – $96,276/£74,273

Brighton – $93,358/£72,022

Bristol – $91,136/£70,307

Oxford – $90,997/£70,219

Reading – $90,580/£69,897

Manchester – $88,913/£68,611

Liverpool – $88,357/£68,182

Bournemouth – $88,079/£67,968

Glasgow – $87,940/£67,860

Nottingham – $86,829/£66,982

Plymouth – $86,690/£66,875

Leeds – $86,134/£66,446

Belfast – $85,856/£66,232 

 

Derby – $85,301/£65,803 

Edinburgh – $85,301/£65,816

Newcastle upon Tyne – $84,745/£65,387

Norwich – $84,606/£65,280

Southampton – $84,189/£64,959

Exeter – $83,078/£64,107

Sheffield – $83,078/£64,107

Cardiff – $82,105/£63,357

Portsmouth – $82,105/£63,369

Coventry – $81,689/£63,047

Aberdeen – $81,411/£62,833

Birmingham – $80,855/£62,404

Dundee – $79,327/£61,224

Leicester – $79,188/£61,117 (lowest annual income)

Source: S Money 

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How were the amounts calculated? First, researchers consulted a Purdue University study that analysed the relationship between happiness and income to discover the price of happiness in every country and select cities.

This study recorded the satiation point for Life Evaluation (LE) in U.S dollars for each world region.

S Money said: ‘Life Evaluation is a metric from the World Gallup poll that measures how good an individual considers their life to be. The satiation point of LE refers to the income point at which any further increase in income has no effect on an individual’s happiness.’

It continued: ‘The figures in the study grouped countries into world regions and quoted the satiation points relative to an American’s purchasing power. So, to discover the local price of happiness by country, we converted these figures back to local currencies using country-specific Purchasing Power Ratios sourced from the International Monetary Fund. Purchasing power ratios represent the number of units of local currency that are equal to the buying power of one US dollar in the United States.

‘Finally, we converted local currencies back into US dollars using current exchange rates given by Google Finance. This is the price of happiness.

‘In addition, the team calculated the price of happiness for select cities within each country by adjusting the country price of happiness according to the cost of living value for both cities and countries in indexes by Numbeo.’

DOES MONEY MAKE YOU HAPPY?

One Harvard study claimed that it’s not what you earn but how you spend it that leads to happiness.

Researchers said that buying experiences and fewer material goods will make you more content – as will paying close attention to the happiness of others.

For more information visit www.smoney.com.au/blog/the-price-of-happiness-in-every-country.

PRICE OF HAPPINESS PER COUNTRY – THE HIGHEST 10 AND LOWEST 10 

COUNTRIES WITH THE HIGHEST PRICE PER YEAR FOR HAPPINESS

1. Iran – $239,700US/£191,906

2. Yemen – $172,140/£137,817

3. Australia – $121,191/£97,026

4. Zimbabwe – $118,342/£94,745

5. Norway – $117,724/£94,251

6. Switzerland – $115,745/£92,666

7. New Zealand – $114,597/£91,747

8. Israel – $112,506/£90,073

9. Iceland – $111,908/£89,594

10. United States – $105,000/£84,064

COUNTRIES WITH THE LOWEST PRICE PER YEAR FOR HAPPINESS

1. Sierra Leone – $8,658/£6,931

2. Suriname – $10,255/£8,210

3. Madagascar – $11,355/£9,090

4. Guyana – $11,707/£9,372

5. Sudan – $11,845/£9,483

6. Nicaragua – $11,941/£9,560

7. Colombia – $12,159/£9,734

8. The Gambia – $12,597/£10,085

9. Bolivia – $12,795/£10,243

10. Ghana – $12,949/£10,367

Source: S Money 




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