Journal of Population Ageing

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 125–158 | Cite as

Subjective Well-being Across the Lifespan in Europe and Central Asia

  • Jan Michael Bauer
  • Victoria Levin
  • Ana Maria Munoz Boudet
  • Peng NieEmail author
  • Alfonso Sousa-Poza


Using data from the Integrated Values Survey (IVS), the Life in Transition Survey (LiTS), and the Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (RLMS), we analyse the relation between age and subjective well-being in the World Bank’s Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region and compare it to that in Western Europe. Although our results generally confirm previous studies’ findings of a U-shaped relation between subjective well-being and age for most of the lifecycle, we also find that well-being in ECA declines again after the 70s, giving rise to an S-shape relation across the entire lifespan. When controlling for socio-demographic characteristics, this pattern generally remains robust for most of our cross-sectional and panel analyses. Hence, despite significant heterogeneity in the pattern of well-being across the lifespan within the ECA region, we do not observe high levels of cross-country or cross-cohort variation.


Age Subjective well-being Eastern Europe Central Asia Life satisfaction 

JEL Classification

C23 D1 I31 J1 



We thank the staff at the various institutions that provided us with the data needed for this report, including the Integrated Values Survey, the Life in Transition Survey, and the Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey. The findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed in this paper are entirely those of the authors. They do not necessarily represent the views of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/World Bank and its affiliated organizations, or those of the Executive Directors of the World Bank or the governments they represent. We would like to thank two anonymous referees for valuable comments on an earlier version of this paper. All errors are our own.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Michael Bauer
    • 1
  • Victoria Levin
    • 2
  • Ana Maria Munoz Boudet
    • 2
  • Peng Nie
    • 3
    Email author
  • Alfonso Sousa-Poza
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Intercultural Communication and ManagementCopenhagen Business SchoolFrederiksbergDenmark
  2. 2.World BankWashingtonUSA
  3. 3.Institute for Health Care & Public ManagementUniversity of HohenheimStuttgartGermany

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