Title

Happiness around the world: Is what makes Canadians happy in Toronto comparable to what makes people happy in Asia and Europe?

Streaming Media

Type of Proposal

Oral presentation

Start Date

29-3-2016 10:00 AM

End Date

29-3-2016 11:20 AM

Faculty

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Ken Cramer

Abstract

The pursuit of happiness is a salient theme in Western societies, and research points to countless positive effects of happiness, including higher levels of creativity, optimism, longevity, and lower levels of hostility and self-centredness. This study aimed to compare factors that contribute to overall happiness around the world, identifying potential variations in happiness due to factors such as gender, age, and cultural background of respondents, and each country’s gross domestic product. Responses were derived from an archival dataset (“Assessing Happiness and Competitiveness of World Major Metropolises,” Lee, 2006), which was taken from the ICPSR (Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research). The original survey, looking at ten major world metropolises in North America, Europe, and Asia, covered multiple areas of city life, including economy, culture and education, welfare, safety, living conditions, city administration, community life, health, city pride, and current level of happiness. After conducting a unique analysis from the raw data (ANOVA, MCP, and frequency analysis), all groups showed similar positive levels of overall happiness across and within cities, with the highest levels recorded in Stockholm and Toronto. Overall, health was the most important predictor of overall happiness (significant in 90% of the urban centres), and that was especially true for males. Health was closely followed by city pride (80%), equally favoured by both genders. As a third predictor, household income was relevant in 60% of the urban centres. Marked by further gender differences, socializing and having plenty of job opportunities were generally represented throughout the sample (40%). However, relatively low percentages of explained variance throughout the sample suggest that not all factors that make up each city’s overall happiness have been sufficiently accounted for in the original study. Implications for the Western fixation on the pursuit of happiness and future directions for research will be discussed.

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Mar 29th, 10:00 AM Mar 29th, 11:20 AM

Happiness around the world: Is what makes Canadians happy in Toronto comparable to what makes people happy in Asia and Europe?

The pursuit of happiness is a salient theme in Western societies, and research points to countless positive effects of happiness, including higher levels of creativity, optimism, longevity, and lower levels of hostility and self-centredness. This study aimed to compare factors that contribute to overall happiness around the world, identifying potential variations in happiness due to factors such as gender, age, and cultural background of respondents, and each country’s gross domestic product. Responses were derived from an archival dataset (“Assessing Happiness and Competitiveness of World Major Metropolises,” Lee, 2006), which was taken from the ICPSR (Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research). The original survey, looking at ten major world metropolises in North America, Europe, and Asia, covered multiple areas of city life, including economy, culture and education, welfare, safety, living conditions, city administration, community life, health, city pride, and current level of happiness. After conducting a unique analysis from the raw data (ANOVA, MCP, and frequency analysis), all groups showed similar positive levels of overall happiness across and within cities, with the highest levels recorded in Stockholm and Toronto. Overall, health was the most important predictor of overall happiness (significant in 90% of the urban centres), and that was especially true for males. Health was closely followed by city pride (80%), equally favoured by both genders. As a third predictor, household income was relevant in 60% of the urban centres. Marked by further gender differences, socializing and having plenty of job opportunities were generally represented throughout the sample (40%). However, relatively low percentages of explained variance throughout the sample suggest that not all factors that make up each city’s overall happiness have been sufficiently accounted for in the original study. Implications for the Western fixation on the pursuit of happiness and future directions for research will be discussed.