Happiness: Also Known as “Life Satisfaction” and “Subjective Well-Being”

  • Ruut VeenhovenEmail author


Happiness is the main goal; most individuals reach out for a happy life and many policy makers aim at greater happiness for a greater number. This pursuit of happiness calls for understanding of conditions for happiness and for that reason the subject has received much attention in the history of western thought. The study of happiness has long been a playground for philosophical speculation. Due to the lack of empirical measures of happiness, it was not possible to check propositions about the matter. Hence, understanding of happiness remained speculative and uncertain. During the last decades, survey-research methods introduced by the social sciences have brought a breakthrough. Dependable measures of happiness have developed, by means of which a significant body of knowledge has evolved. This chapter presents an account on this field. The literature on happiness can be framed within some key questions that can be ordered as steps in the process for creating greater happiness for a greater number. (1) What is happiness precisely? (2) Can happiness be measured? (3) How happy are people presently? (4) What causes us to be happy or unhappy? (5) Can happiness be raised lastingly?


Life Satisfaction Life Chance Domain Satisfaction Great Happiness Average Happiness 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Netherlands 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Erasmus UniversityRotterdamThe Netherlands

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