23 May Measuring Happiness
May 21, 2008, 9:54 am
Introducing: The Happiness Index
The press is calling it the Dow Jones Industrial Average of American well-being. Every day, since January of this year, pollsters have called 1,000 Americans to quiz them on their health and happiness.
The first set of results from this unprecedented survey were released on Wednesday, as the inaugural report of The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, and they find that 47 percent of Americans are struggling to stay afloat, and 4 percent are suffering as a result of money woes and illness. The remaining 49 percent say they are thriving, based on their quality of life and outlook on their future.
The index will continue to be updated daily, and will eventually be able to give a breakdown of well-being by profession, commute times, even ZIP codes.
All that data should be welcomed by researchers – like Freakonomics guest-bloggers Justin Wolfers and Arthur Brooks- who study happiness.
Now we”re curious: where would you put yourself on the index’s well-being ladder. Thriving, struggling, or suffering? And why?