Since 1974, CBS has been measuring subjective well-being among the Dutch population, with questions about satisfaction and happiness (Van Beuningen, 2016; Van Beuningen, 2018). From 1997 to 2011, CBS measured well-being in the Permanent Survey on Living Conditions (POLS). Due to differences in survey design and questioning between POLS and S&W, survey results are not easily comparable. Therefore, until now it has not been possible to publish long trends for happiness and satisfaction with life. In 2018, CBS made the results of both surveys comparable, so that it is now possible to show the developments in subjective well-being since 1997. This was done not only at the level of the total adult population, but also for breakdowns by sex, age, highest level of education and migration background.
Since 2013, questions on happiness and satisfaction have been asked in the Social Cohesion and Wellbeing (SSW) survey. Respondents are asked to indicate on a scale of 1 to 10 the extent to which they consider themselves a happy person and the extent to which they are satisfied with the life they are currently leading. A score of 7 or higher means that someone is considered happy or satisfied, a score of 5 or 6 means "neither happy nor unhappy " or "neither satisfied, nor dissatisfied", and a score of 1 to 4 categorises someone as unhappy or dissatisfied.
The concepts of happiness and satisfaction each measure something different. Happiness has to do with how people feel, whereas satisfaction is more about rationality (Diener, Suh, Lucas and Smith, 1999).
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