Almost 90 percent say they are happy

In 2016, 88 percent of Dutch adults saw themselves as happy. This percentage has been stable since 2013, when Statistics Netherlands (CBS) introduced the current method of measurement. Just under 3 percent are truly unhappy and 9 percent consider themselves neither happy nor unhappy. CBS releases these new figures today, on the International Day of Happiness.

The perception of happiness is found to be closely related to health. Among people who rate their own health as (very) poor, 58 percent consider themselves happy and 16 percent unhappy. The share is much larger among those who claim excellent health, namely 94 percent, against 1 percent who say they are unhappy.

Happiness perceptions, 2016
Happiness perceptions, 2016
 UnhappyNeither happy nor unhappyHappy
Health perception
very good1.34.993.8
not bad3.415.780.9
(very) bad1626.457.6

Happier in a good relationship

Another key determinant of happiness is being in a relationship. Ninety-two percent of Dutch adults who have a partner are happy, against 79 percent of people without a partner.
Happiness perceptions are also linked with the quality of the relationship. At 65 percent, people who are not happy with their relationship report much lower levels of happiness than people who do not have a partner (79 percent). It is not always clear what cause and effect are here. Does less happy mean the partner (and other issues) is viewed more negatively, or does the unhappy relationship lead to a lower happiness level?

Perceived happiness and relationship, 2016
Perceived happiness and relationship, 2016
 UnhappyNeither happy nor unhappyHappy
In a relationship
Happy in relationship

Divorce and widow(er)hood affect happiness score

Among those married or in a registered partnership, 92 percent are happy. The percentage share of happy people is lower among widowers and widows (75 percent) and divorced people (82 percent). Some have formed a new relationship and are relatively happier. Living together with a partner also influences people’s level of happiness. Nine out of ten people who share a household with their partner, either with or without children, say they are happy. This percentage is lower among people who live on their own (79 percent) and among single parents (77 percent).