Social Indicators Research

, Volume 110, Issue 2, pp 579–595 | Cite as

On the Sunny Side of Life: Sunshine Effects on Life Satisfaction

  • Sylvia KämpferEmail author
  • Michael Mutz


This paper seeks to analyze the influence of the weather on a person’s self-reported life satisfaction. On a theoretical level, it is claimed that ‘nice’ weather can improve the affective well-being of a person. Given this, it is argued that affects can, in turn, have an impact on that person’s general assessment of his or her life. In particular, it is expected that people would report a higher life satisfaction on days with unambiguously ‘nice’ weather. Data from three German large-scale surveys are used to test empirically to what extent self-reported life satisfaction is determined by the weather. All in all, the results are mostly consistent with the initial hypothesis. In all three samples those respondents surveyed on days with exceptionally sunny weather reported a higher life satisfaction compared to respondents interviewed on days with ‘ordinary’ weather. In two out of three samples, this difference was statistically significant. Hence, the supposed sunshine effect on peoples’ life satisfaction does indeed exist. Implications of these findings are discussed in a conclusion.


Well-being Life satisfaction Happiness Mood Weather Sunshine Climate conditions 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for SociologyFreie Universität BerlinBerlinGermany

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