What makes Kiwis happy?

00:15, Feb 28 2012

Fitness junkies and the politically right-wing are most likely to consider themselves happy, according to new research.

A phone poll, conducted by UMR Research, suggested that the five factors linked to happiness were physical fitness, community involvement, a good work/life balance, satisfaction with life achievements and a right-wing political stance.

Participants were also asked to rate their physical attractiveness, with 62 per cent considering themselves average, 23 per cent thinking they were better looking than average and ten per cent thinking they were below average. Five per cent were unsure.

The report concluded that thinking that you were good looking did not seem to make you happier, but thinking that your looks were below average did seem to make you less happy.

About one quarter of respondents considered themselves to be happy, overall.

While politically left-wing people outnumbered those to the firm right - 44 per cent and 35 per cent respectively with 18 per cent in the centre - those on the right were more strongly associated with happiness.

Those who infrequently watched television narrowly outnumbered couch potatoes, with 52 per cent to 48 per cent.

The research formed the second part of UMR's Happiness of New Zealand study, the first part of which was released earlier this month.

"The fact that work/life balance is one of the key drivers of happiness fits with the first Happiness report, which showed that retired people were particularly likely to be happy," UMR Research Director Gavin White said.

"Although two thirds of us say that we enjoy our jobs, one of the best ways to make New Zealanders happy could well be improving their work/life balance."

The research was conducted in December 2011 in a phone poll of respondents aged 18 or over. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.6 per cent.


The Dominion Post