Close your eyes or do whatever it is you do when you meditate… ponder the following question, “At what salary would you be content?” Okay, end the meditation. Were you thinking $75,000 annually? That’s the number that an analysis of 2008-2009 Gallup poll data by the economists Angus Deaton and Daniel Kahneman came up with. So, what does that mean?
Types of Happiness
The researchers identified two types of happiness: day-to-day happiness and an overall sense of well-being or contentment. Not surprisingly, contentment rises as salaries climb past the $75,000 barrier. Day-to-day happiness levels out around that $75,000 mark. Too generic of a salary for you? I agree, and so did the folks at the Wall Street Journal. They broke it down by metro area; I’ll try to visualize it differently for you; by state. State by state numbers are hard to come by, and kind of misleading. However, taxes, a major component of cost of living indices, are mostly uniform across states, so the index can give you a decent idea of the ‘magic happiness number’ for all 50 states and Washington D.C. I found a nice summary of ACCRA’s cost of living index survey on this site. As always, feel free to use and edit my data, just link back to me so I know what you’ve done!