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Index of Happiness, 1995-2005: Happy Life Years

Source: Veenhoven, R., Happy Life Years in 95 nations 1995-2005, World Database of Happiness, Rank Report 2006-2b, Internet:


Average enjoyment of life assessed by means of surveys in general public samples. Data taken from RankReport 2006-1d.
Note that some of the scores are not beyond doubt, in particular not the score in Columbia.

Life expectancy is estimated on the basis of civil registrations of birth and death. Average over the years 1995 to 2003. Source: Human Development Reports, table 1.

'Happy Life Years' is an estimate of how long and happy the average citizen will live in that nation in this era.      Computation: 0-1 enjoyment of life multiplied by expected length of life

Also referred to as: "Happy Life-Expectancy" (HLE) or "Happiness Adjusted Life-Years" shortened as "HALY's (Analogous to Disability Adjusted Life Years, or "DALY's).

This variable is described in more detail in Veenhoven, R. Happy Life Expectancy. A comprehensive indicator of quality of life in nations, in: Social Indicators Research, 1996, vol.39, pp. 1-58
Further argumentation of theoretical significance of this measure can be found in Veenhoven, R. The four qualities of life: Ordering concepts and measures of the good life, in Journal of Happiness Studies, 2000, vol. 1, pp. 1-39

This measure scored highest in a scholarly review of indicators. See: Hagerty, M., et. al. ‘Quality of Life indexes for national policy: Review and agenda for research’, Social Indicators Research, 2001, vol. 55, pp. 1-96.

Dubious cases, see report 2006/1

According to Veenhoven's Happiness Index, China's population had a remarkably high level of "happiness" - as expressed in "Happy Life Years" (see definition above). For the period 1995-2005 it was significantly higher than in India and some Eastern-European countries, such as Ukraine or Moldova. This is partly due to the high average life expectancy of the Chinese population.

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This data section was updated on 18 December 2011

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Copyright © 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 by Gerhard K. Heilig. All rights reserved. - 18 April 2012