FAQs about this World Database of Happiness

What kind of ‘database’ is this?

It is a support system for research synthesis, which we call a findings archive. Its main content is quantitative research results, such as averages and correlation coefficients, which we take from research reports. These are ‘processed’ data, not ‘primary’ data. We present research findings on happiness in a standard language and format.

Are there similar data collections?

To our knowledge this source is the first of this kind. That is why there is not yet an established name for this research tool. We call it a ‘finding archive’. A description of this technique is found here.

Where based?

The World Database of Happiness is based at Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands in the Erasmus Happiness Econimics Research Organization EHERO

Who pays for this project?

The World Database of Happiness is a non-profit scientific project. It is partly financed by Erasmus University Rotterdam and by incidental academic grants. Much of the work is done by volunteers. With the continuing growth of the research literature on happiness we will seek financial support from sponsors interested in keeping an overview in their field.

Who checks the content of this site?

Excerpts made from research reports are sent to the authors with the request to check the excerpt. Anyone can check our presentation of the results since the site provides references to the publications from which the research findings are taken.

How impartial?

Though there may be ideological bias in some of the research on happiness, there can be no bias in our collection of the results. We take stock of all the available research findings that meet the criterion of being based on proper measurement of happiness. At best (worst) we could neglect research results we deem undesirable, but this is easily exposed on the academic forum.

Who’s idea?

This World Database of Happiness is a brain child of Ruut Veenhoven, emeritus professor of social conditions for human happiness at Erasmus University Rotterdam. He began developing this tool in the 1980s, beginning in 1984 with a 580 page book (Databook of Happiness that served as a supplement to his review of the research literature on happiness up to 1975 (Conditions of Happiness). The software was developed over the years together with Phillip Brands, Stephan Erdtmann, Ferry DeGroot, Henk DeHeer. Fredrik Radema and Rebecca Rehorst.