Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 515–541 | Cite as

Are Women Happier than Men? Evidence from the Gallup World Poll

  • Jacqueline S. ZweigEmail author
Research Paper


Women in nearly all countries of the world have lower incomes, are less educated, are more likely to be widowed or divorced, and report worse health than men. Based on the happiness literature, these inequalities should cause women to be less happy than men. This study investigates this hypothesis using the Gallup World Poll to estimate differences in happiness between men and women in 73 countries through country-specific ordinary least squares regressions. It then examines whether the magnitude of the female–male happiness gap can be explained by country characteristics, such as economic development, religion, or women’s rights. This paper provides evidence that women are either happier than men or that there is no significant difference between women and men in nearly all of the 73 countries examined; when comparing men and women with the same life circumstances, women are happier than men in nearly a quarter of the countries. The magnitude of the female–male happiness gap is not associated with economic development or women’s rights and there are no systematic patterns by geography or primary religion.


Happiness Gender Subjective well-being Life satisfaction 



I am grateful to the Gallup Organization for providing me access to the Gallup World Poll and to Richard A. Easterlin for his guidance on this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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