Happiness Correlates

Correlations to Happiness


  • Money (if >poverty)
  • Physical Attractiveness
  • Intelligence
  • Parenthood
  • Age
  • Gender


  • Health
  • Social Activity
  • Religiosity


  • Genetics
  • Love and Relationship satisfaction
  • Work Satisfaction

Studies on happiness are teaching us a lot.  Here is a chart to summarize some findings listed here on LessWrong.  Some of these findings are intuitive, but the “None” column is often counter-intuitive.  Of course I am very glad that money, physical attractiveness and intelligence don’t determine happiness!  And I must say that much of my happiness must come from my genes — a humbling thought.  And to please atheist readers,  as a balance on the “Religiosity” item, is this article by Tom Rees: “Religion and spiritual beliefs do not make happy children.”


Filed under Science

4 responses to “Happiness Correlates

  1. Brandon

    I really like this. Thanks, Sabio.

    Also, I am very surprised that health is not in the strong category.

  2. Thanx Brandon. It seems odd that the things we clamor after are not really at the top. It seems our genes which drive our clamoring, are not geared toward Happiness. Happiness then, to some extent, must entail the hijacking of our code.

  3. DaCheese

    I think the reason health is not in the top category is that it’s necessary, but not sufficient. Lots of people are perfectly healthy, but still miserable due to social/relationship factors, etc. OTOH, it’s hard to be truly happy when you’re suffering physically.

    I also think that the same holds true for money. But modern Western societies are wealthy enough that most people have the necessities, so the influence of individual wealth is even weaker in these studies. I suspect that it would figure more prominently in older agrarian or hunter-gatherer societies, where food and other basic necessities were more scarce. And that, in turn, might start to explain the disconnect between the value we place on wealth and its actual impact on our happiness.

  4. “Religion and spiritual beliefs do not make happy children.”

    as parents don’t adhere to learning readiness. Sunday School teaches simplistic versions of the stories, Cliff Notes stuff, without any of the ugly that pastors don’t want to or can’t preach and teach on because they or their congregation or both have a Sunday School simplistic faith. Jesusland is a great book on this.

    yet there are some faiths that make no sense to me that really do seem to churn out happy families, catholic families that i grew up in and with seemed to produce a fair amount as well as my atheist buddy here in the area who grew up mormon in utah. she states she doesn’t believe any doctrine of the mormon faith but gives it the credit for her happy childhood. i find that interesting. yet just as good as it can be, it can be just as bad in different hands. the tool is only as good as the hand that wields it i guess.

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