Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 869–890 | Cite as

Exploring Predictors of Subjective Well-Being in Ghana: A Micro-Level Study

  • Isaac AddaiEmail author
  • Chris Opoku-Agyeman
  • Sarah K. Amanfu
Research Paper


Subjective well-being has been studied by social scientists for decades mostly in developed countries. Little is known about determinants of subjective well-being in developing countries and more particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Using 2005–2008 World Values Survey (n = 1,533) this study adds to existing literature on well-being in developing countries focusing on Ghana. The paper explores the predictors of two measures of subjective well-being—happiness and satisfaction in life at micro-level in Ghana. The analyses are divided into two main sections. The first part describes the distribution of happiness and satisfaction in life among Ghanaians. The second section elucidates factors influencing the selected measures of subjective well-being separately. The data reveal that both happiness and life satisfaction among Ghanaians are shaped by multitude of factors including economic, cultural, social capital and health variables. Relatively, perceived health status emerged as the most salient predictor of both measures of well-being. Besides religiosity, all the religion variables emerged as significant predictors of how Ghanaians appraise their own well-being. Equally, income, ethnicity and social capital variables emerged as predictors of happiness and life satisfaction at micro-level in Ghana. Policy implications of the findings are discussed alluding to multidimensional approach to well-being promotion in the country. The outcome of the study also establishes the fact that factors predicting subjective well-being at the micro level vary in SSA context compared to the developed world.


Life satisfaction Happiness Subjective well-being Ghana Micro-level 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Isaac Addai
    • 1
    Email author
  • Chris Opoku-Agyeman
    • 2
  • Sarah K. Amanfu
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Social Science and HumanitiesLansing Community CollegeLansingUSA
  2. 2.Department of Public Administration and Urban StudiesUniversity of AkronAkronUSA
  3. 3.Department of Administrative Policy Studies and EducationUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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