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Don’t Rely on Money for Happiness

Happy family holding baby

theodore gouta/Unsplash.com

People in the “poorest of the poor” communities in which money is not a high value can feel as happy as people in high-income Scandinavian countries, concludes new research from Canada’s McGill University. For the study published in PLOS One, interviewers studied 678 people living in Bangladesh and the Solomon Islands, both extremely low-income countries. People in remote fishing villages with subsistence-level incomes reported very high levels of “subjective well-being”, which they attributed to spending lots of time with family and being in nature. Villagers that had migrated to urban areas for work were more likely to gauge their well-being by economic and social factors, and reported lower feelings of well-being, leading researchers to speculate that monetization, especially in its early stages, may be detrimental to happiness. “When people are comfortable, safe and free to enjoy life within a strong community, they are happy—regardless of whether or not they are making any money,” says Chris Barrington-Leigh, a professor at McGill’s Bieler School of the Environment.

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