Calamos Supports Greece
GreekReporter.comGreek NewsCultureHappiness Higher Among Indigenous Communities, Study Finds

Happiness Higher Among Indigenous Communities, Study Finds

Indigenous communities' happiness level or higher than happiness of wealthy nations, study finds.
Indigenous communities’ happiness level is higher than happiness of wealthy nations, study finds. Credit: wwarby. CC BY 2.0/flickr

A new study has shed light on the connection between happiness and wealth with high life satisfaction being reported among small-scale societies, mostly Indigenous peoples, with low incomes. This dispels the myth that material wealth alone makes people happy and presents evidence for the possibility of a satisfying life without reliance on material requirements.

The finding highlights the likelihood that humanity can indeed learn to live within planetary boundaries and slow down climate change. Many surveys have shown that wealthier individuals tend to report being more content and satisfied with their lives. Such a pattern could be construed to mean that high material wealth, as measured in monetary terms, is a necessary factor for happiness.

The new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), relays survey results from people living in small-scale societies outside the “globalized mainstream,” the majority of whom identify as Indigenous.

The study highlights that despite these (mostly) Indigenous communities having little monetary income, the respondents frequently reported being “very satisfied with their lives.” Some communities reported satisfaction and happiness scores in line with people living in the wealthiest countries. According to the study authors, “These results imply greater flexibility in the means to achieve happiness than are apparent from surveys that examine only industrialized societies.”

In conducting the study, the researchers collected data through a total of 2,966 in-person interviews, carried out among nineteen globally distributed sites across eighteen countries. All the surveys were part of the Local Indicators of Climate Change Impacts (LICCI) project, which aims to bring insights from Indigenous cultures and local knowledge systems to climate research. The surveys followed a standardized protocol for data collection.

The information reported, and subsequently published in the study, pertains to Indigenous peoples and local communities, defined in accordance with the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. The communities exist in rural areas in close interaction with the environment and are supported largely through the use of nature.

Conclusions of the study on happiness in Indigenous communities and the industrialized world

One of the study’s authors commented, “The striking aspect of our findings, particularly compared to the widely cited Gallup World Poll, is that reported life satisfaction and happiness in very low-income, Indigenous communities can meet and even exceed that reported at the highest average levels of material wealth provided by industrial ways of life.”

The author added: “Our findings provide strong empirical support for the argument that achieving high reported life satisfaction does not require the elevated rates of material consumption generally associated with high monetary income.”

Instead, concluded the author, the findings add weight to the importance of identifying the underlying factors that cause people to report high satisfaction with their lives. It has long been known that nonmonetary factors are important to well-being. The insight here is that those factors can yield higher levels of satisfaction at the population level than typically expected.

“Further research into the factors supporting high levels of life satisfaction while maintaining low material requirements, as exemplified by the communities studied here, may provide unexplored strategies to improve the well-being of humans while navigating planetary boundaries,” the researcher concluded.

See all the latest news from Greece and the world at Contact our newsroom to report an update or send your story, photos and videos. Follow GR on Google News and subscribe here to our daily email!

Related Posts