The Price Tag on Happiness

Posted on August 11, 2017 • Category: Happiness


In 2010, economist Angus Deaton and psychologist Daniel Kahneman worked with Gallup to analyze the responses of 450,000 Americans polled by Gallup and Healthways in 2008 and 2009. The results indicated:

  • Daily happiness in America peaks with an average annual income of $75,000.
    Where you live affects whether you need more or less income to achieve this peak.
  • Life satisfaction continues to climb with additional income in all regions of the country.

In 2017, Gallup and Sharecare, a personal health company, repeated the study by analyzing more than 350,000 interviews with Americans in 2015 and 2016. Lead researcher Dan Witters notes that the 2017 results are similar to 2010 results.

How much income does it take to reach peak daily happiness?


Gallup cautions that the margins of error (MOE) vary with each city and the income bracket of the person answering the question, “How much income does it take to reach peak daily happiness?” The MOE ranges from ± 2.7% to 3.6%.

The results suggest that cost of living is a factor but not all regions follow that pattern. For example, daily happiness in the Great Lakes region comes with the highest price tag--$120,000+ per year.


$54K In Phoenix, happiness peaks when people make about $54,000 per year.
See the Cities Where You Can Be Happier with Less Money  

Gallup (as reported in Time magazine), May 9, 2017, March 2017


$75K Does income buy happiness? Yes, up to a point. But life satisfaction keeps climbing with income in all regions.
Income Buys Happiness Differently Based on Where You Live  

Gallup, May 8, 2017