How much does it cost to be happy? The answer really depends on where you live. Even within the United States, the money you need to be “happy” can vary greatly between a major city with high living costs and a small town that’s more affordable.
A 2018 study by Purdue University found the price to be happy also varies by country and culture: “There was substantial variation across world regions, with satiation occurring later in wealthier regions for life satisfaction,” wrote Andrew T. Jebb, the lead author of the study. “This could be because evaluations tend to be more influenced by the standards by which individuals compare themselves to other people.”
To find out the salary needed to be happy in countries across the world, S Money sourced each world region’s satiation point for life evaluation — i.e., the income level at which a further increase in income has no effect on an individual’s happiness. To find what these satiation points mean in real terms, S Money used country-specific purchasing power ratios from the International Monetary Fund.
Based on this analysis, S Money identified the 10 countries where you need to earn the most money to be happy — and, spoiler alert, the United States is one of them. In all of these countries, you need to earn over $100,000 to be happy.
10. United States
- Income needed to be happy: $105,000
- Income needed to be happy: $111,908
- Income needed to be happy: $112,506
7. New Zealand
- Income needed to be happy: $114,597
- Income needed to be happy: $115,745
- Income needed to be happy: $117,724
- Income needed to be happy: $118,342
- Income needed to be happy: $121,191
- Income needed to be happy: $172,140
- Income needed to be happy: $239,700
All data is sourced from S Money and is accurate as of July 2023.
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