Happiness and Income
Everything that rises must converge
Emerging markets are catching up with the West in the happiness stakes
POETS, songwriters and left-wing politicians hate the idea, but for decades opinion-poll evidence has been clear: money buys happiness and the richer you are, the more likely you are to express satisfaction with your life. Until now. A survey of 43 countries published on October 30th by the Pew Research Centre of Washington, DC, shows that people in emerging markets are within a whisker of expressing the same level of satisfaction as people in rich countries. It is the biggest qualification to the standard view of happiness and income seen so far.
The Pew poll asks respondents to measure, on a scale from zero to ten, how good their lives are. (Those who say between seven and ten are counted as happy.) In 2007, 57% of respondents in rich countries put themselves in the top four tiers; in emerging markets the share was 33%; in poor countries only 16%—a classic expression of the standard view.
But in 2014, 54% of rich-country respondents counted themselves as happy, whereas in emerging markets the percentage jumped to 51%. This was happening just at a time when emerging markets' chances of converging economically with the West seemed to be receding.
Rich countries did not experience steep declines in happiness. The decreases in America and Britain were tiny (a single percentage point), while the share of happy Germans rose 13 points. A large drop in formerly joyful Spain ensured a modest overall decline for the rich. But the convergence happened thanks to huge improvements in countries such as Indonesia (+35) and Pakistan (+22). In 12 of the 24 emerging markets, half or more people rate their life satisfaction in the top tiers of the ladder.
This is not to say the link between income and satisfaction has been snapped. Poor countries still lag behind: only a quarter of the people there are in the happy tiers—half the level of the other two groups. There is also a clear link between happiness and income growth (as opposed to income levels). China's GDP rose at an annual average rate of 10% in 2007-14 and its happiness level rose 26 points.
Within countries, richer people express more satisfaction than their poorer neighbours. The study divided respondents into categories with higher and lower incomes and fewer and more household goods. In every country in every group, richer folk with more goods expressed higher levels of happiness. So at a personal (as opposed to national) level, money does buy happiness. And if you ask people about different aspects of their lives—health, family life, religion, standard of living—it turns out that satisfaction with living standards still has the biggest influence on happiness.
But the secret of happiness has been scattered around. Women tend to be happier than men. Married people are happier than unmarried ones. Latin Americans are more satisfied than people in other emerging markets. Asians are the most optimistic; Middle Easterners the least. Income still matters. But it has been dethroned.
1.catch up with 赶上，追上
We'll do our best to catch up with the advanced world levels.
They should take some crash courses to catch up with their classmates.
2.jump to 赶快，立即
A jump to an initiating receive activity, that has no correlation defined, should be avoided.
This function returns an anonymous visitor function that will jump to the next node if the node is not of the correct type.
3.seem to 似乎，好象；看起来
Some people seem to be always lucky.
I seem to see someone going into my house.
4.thanks to 由于，幸亏
He preceded his speech with a vote of thanks to the committee.
To be sure, war, violence and poverty are still with us and we as mankind are probably more aware of these problems worldwide than ever before thanks to advances in technology and communication.