The Second Approximation to an International Standard for Life Satisfaction
- Cite this article as:
- Cummins, R.A. Social Indicators Research (1998) 43: 307. doi:10.1023/A:1006831107052
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An earlier study, based on data from Western countries, concluded that an international standard for life satisfaction could be stated as 75 ± 2.5 percentage of the measurement scale maximum score. This study presents a similar analysis based on data from countries representing all major geographic regions. It is reported that these data yield a more inclusive standard of 70 ± 5 percentage of scale maximum. While the major correlates of life satisfaction are found to be individualism and national wealth, the life satisfaction levels of some countries are distinctly anomalous in this regard. It is concluded that the narrow range of population data suggest that life satisfaction is held under homeostatic control. The anomalous levels of life satisfaction reported by some countries indicate caution in the interpretation of life satisfaction data as implying some desirable population state.