Move to Rich Country, Not Key to Happiness

LEICESTER, England, Sept. 2 (UPI) — Immigrants who move to a wealthy country may not achieve the happiness they expect from making a larger income, British researchers say.

Sociologist David Bartram of the University of Leicester says the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side of the border because the pursuit of wealth does not equate happiness.


Bartram says his study used existing data on 1,400 people from the World Values Survey.

“The study of happiness tells us that people generally do not gain greater happiness from earning higher incomes — which suggests that migrants might be mistaken in believing that they will be better off if they can move to a wealthy country,” Bartram says in a statement. “Migrants do gain happiness from higher incomes, to a greater extent than natives — but the relationship is weak even for migrants. In fact, it also works out that migrants are less happy than natives.”

Many believe money is more important than it actually is for happiness and this study suggests migrants are not terribly different in this regard, Bartram says.

“The fact is, most people around the world do not want to move to a wealthy country like the United Kingdom: perhaps they understand that money is not the most important thing, that there would be a real price to pay in leaving one’s family and community,” he said.

The findings are published online ahead of print in the journal Social Indicators Research.

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