One in five Dutch adults very happy

© Hollandse Hoogte
Over one-fifth of the Dutch population aged 18 years or older consider themselves very happy. On a scale from 1 to 10, they rate their own happiness with a score of 9 or 10. In contrast to this, a small minority of less than 3 percent see themselves as unhappy. They rate their degree of happiness with a score of 4 or less. Happiness scores remained more or less stable each year over the period 2013-2017, according to research conducted recently by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

In a survey among people aged 18 years or older, the question was asked how they perceive their well-being in terms of happiness and life satisfaction. They were also asked about their social contacts, trust in other people and volunteer work.

 Percentage share
Unhappy 10.4
Unhappy 20.3
Unhappy 30.7
Unhappy 41.2
Neither unhappy nor very happy 53.1
Neither unhappy nor very happy 66.6
Neither unhappy nor very happy 722.2
Neither unhappy nor very happy 843.3
Very happy 916.4
Very happy 105.8

Very happy people, who are they?

Especially those married, in the highest income category and in employment are very likely to consider themselves very happy. Divorced adults, lower-educated and those in the lowest income category, on the other hand, are most likely to be unhappy.

Very happy people also more likely to be very healthy

The majority (86 percent) of over-18s who consider themselves very happy perceive their health as good or very good. Within this group, 27 percent say their health is very good versus 12 percent among the other adults. How perceived happiness and health are interrelated and how they affect each other cannot be determined on the basis of these figures.

 Very goodGoodGood enoughPoorVery poor
Very happy2758.612.41.70.3
Other11.85625.45.61.2

Of the very happy adults, 56 percent are in daily contact with their family, friends and acquaintances. This is a higher share than among the rest of the population (50 percent). Furthermore, they are slightly more likely to be active as a volunteer and have relatively more trust in other people. Of those who feel very happy, 65 percent think most people can be trusted. This share is 58 percent among the other adults.

Less trust and fewer social contacts among unhappy people

Those who see themselves as unhappy are considerably less likely to perceive their health as good than others. Of the unhappy people, 37 percent regard their health as poor or very poor, as against 5 percent among those who are not unhappy.

 Very goodGoodGood enoughPoorVery poor
Unhappy5.628.12925.611.8
Other15.457.322.34.20.7

The share of those in daily or weekly contact with their family, friends or neighbours is smaller among unhappy adults than among the other over-18s: 87 percent versus 96 percent. Furthermore, relatively fewer unhappy people (nearly one-third) engage in volunteer work compared to other people (nearly half). Lastly, almost 37 percent of unhappy people indicate that most people can be trusted. Among those who are not unhappy, this share is 60 percent.

How perceived happiness and other features such as health, education and marital status are interrelated and how they affect each other cannot be determined on the basis of these figures.

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