Applied Research in Quality of Life

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 21–35 | Cite as

Cross-National Pattern of Happiness: Do Higher Education and Less Urbanization Degrade Happiness?

  • Donghwan Kim


Traditionally, happiness has been recognized as the result of a positive relationship with one's income level. However, income level may not be the only factor that affects one’s happiness. In this paper, the effects of education and urbanization factors among 67 countries were analyzed by using World Value Survey data and World Bank Indicator. Generally, the urbanization positively affects happiness in the cross-country analysis, but happiness has a negative correlation with education level. More specifically, four geographical trends have been found in this paper. First, if two variables have very low values, the nation's happiness will drop. Second, according to the moderated education ratio (10 < E < 35), East Asia (non-OECD) is found to be happier than Middle East/North Africa. Third, according to the high education ratio (E > 50), East Asia (OECD) has a lower level of happiness than other countries. Lastly, in Europe, urbanization and education are not significant factors in terms of happiness, but the economic level is the most important factor. Those results provide evidence that there are different effects of education/urbanization on happiness in terms of 1) general implication and 2) sub-divided regions (geographic or norm difference).


Happiness World value survey Urbanization level Tertiary school enrollment Geographic difference 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht and The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Korea Development Institute School of Public Policy and ManagementSejongSouth Korea
  2. 2.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of HoustonHoustonUSA

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