Guardian: Lack of money does not prevent people from being happy

Lack of funds does not prevent tribal communities from being as happy as people in the richest and most developed countries. A new scientific study comes to this conclusion, thus proving that "happiness cannot be bought".

The researchers, who interviewed 2,966 people in 19 indigenous and local communities around the world, found that they were on average as happy, if not happier, as the average person in high-income Western countries, reported “ Guardian".

"Surprisingly, many of the population with very low incomes report very high average levels of life satisfaction, with results similar to those in rich countries," said Eric Galbraith, lead author of the study, which is published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

"I hope that by learning more about what makes life fulfilling in these different communities, it can help many others lead more fulfilling lives while addressing the sustainability crisis," Galbraith said.

The study, conducted by the Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (ICTA-UAB), found that people in the 19 isolated communities received an average life satisfaction rating of 6.8 out of 10, "although in most of them have an annual cash income estimated at less than US$1,000 per person".

This is about the same as the average life satisfaction score of 6.7 for all countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Galbraith said four of the small communities reported average happiness scores of more than 8, higher than that found in Finland, the highest-rated country in the OECD survey, with an average score of 7.9.

These four communities are Colla Atacamena in Argentina (8.0); Pai Tavitera/Guarani in Paraguay (8.2); Riberinhos in Brazil (8.4) and farmers in the Western Highlands of Guatemala (8.6). In the West Highlands, 30 out of 70 interviewees gave a 10/10 response when asked about their life satisfaction.

The average value of assets per capita in the Western Highlands community is $560. By comparison, the UK average per capita is $382,000.

The ICTA-UAB report said its findings were "good news for sustainable development and human happiness, as they provide strong evidence that high levels of subjective well-being do not require too much economic growth."

"The often observed strong relationship between income and life satisfaction is not universal and proves that the wealth generated by industrial economies is not fundamentally necessary for people to live happily," said Victoria Reyes-Garcia, a researcher at ICTA-UAB and principal author of the study./BGNES