University Professor helps shed light on what makes us happy and satisfied in life

University Professor helps shed light on what makes us happy and satisfied in life

Does parenthood make us happy? Can we migrate to become happier? How does gender inequality influence depression rates? And how do we define and measure individuals' wellbeing across Europe?

Professor Clare Wallace, Chair in Sociology at the University of Aberdeen has been involved in answering questions such as these in her capacity as an author of the European Social Survey results which are published today.

The results are presented in a new interactive website and accompanying print publication, both called Measuring and Reporting on Europeans’ Wellbeing, which showcase the rich data and broad scope of the ESS to explore this complex topic:

The survey, which is freely available online, is one of the largest and most reliable sources of data about Europeans’ attitudes, behaviours and experiences.

The topic of wellbeing is one of many covered by the ESS, which has its headquarters at City University London and has collected data from more than 350,000 individuals across 36 countries since 2002.

Expert analysis explores the definition, drivers and distribution of subjective wellbeing in more than 30 European countries, using data from the first six rounds of the survey.

The publication presents additional findings from the most recent round of the survey (Round 6) and focuses on personal and social wellbeing, exploring how it is distributed across countries, age groups and income groups. 

Rory Fitzgerald, Director of the ESS ERIC, said: “Wellbeing, and how to improve it, now occupies a prominent place on the agendas of European governments and their citizens.

“These new analyses offer insights on some of the most critical issues currently affecting people across Europe, including migration, the environment and gender equality.”

Professor Clare Wallace added: “As part of the ESS, we investigated what factors help to make a decent society as seen from the perspective of the people in it. The ESS enabled us to compare across countries the length and breadth of Europe in a way that had never been done before”.