Germans are much happier than in the past. And the difference between eastern and western Germany was never as low as now. Hamburg is the happiest region in Germany; Thuringia the unhappiest. That is the result of the German Happiness Atlas 2011 - available in German: Glücksatlas Deutschland 2011 - the first German happiness study commissioned by Deutsche Post.
Under the direction of renowned scientists, such as Professor Bernd Raffelhüschen, Director of the Intergenerational Pacts Research Center at the University of Freiburg, and Professor Renate Köcher, Director of the Allensbach Institute for Public Opinion Research, the study examined how strongly a variety of factors influence happiness, such as income, profession, family, health and culture.
"The value of the gross domestic product as the only indicator of prosperity is being viewed more and more critically by both scientist and politicians. The Happiness Atlas 2011 helps us understand what really impacts happiness in Germany," says Jürgen Gerdes, Board Member at Deutsche Post DHL. By commissioning the study, Deutsche Post is using data to support an ongoing discussion in society.
The Happiness Atlas 2011 is the most comprehensive and current appraisal of happiness in Germany. It is based on data from the Socio-Economical Panel (SOEP) and a survey conducted by the Allensbach Institute for Public Opinion Research in the spring of 2011.
The study analyzes the influence of personality traits, age and gender and found that men and women between the ages of 20 and 30 are the happiest. The unhappiest are middle-aged Germans. Happiness climbs again back up to the levels of 30 year olds after the age of 65. Young and middle-aged women are happier than men. However, men 60 and older are happier than women their age. Germans as happy as 2001
"Germans are happier today than they have been in the past ten years," says Professor Raffelhüschen. The financial crisis of 2008/2009 lowered happiness levels only a bit. The German happiness level is 7.0 on a scale of 0 to 10. The last time it was this high was in 2001. An encouraging aspect was that the difference between eastern and western Germany is currently only 0.3 points. It was 1.3 points shortly after reunification in 1991.
The 2011 regional happiness ranking is as follows: Hamburg is the happiest region in Germany with 7.38 points, followed by Lower Saxony/North Sea (7.14), Bavaria (7.10), Franconia (7.09), Schleswig-Holstein (7.04), Baden (7.01), Lower Saxony/Hanover (6.99), Württemberg (6.94), North Rhine/Cologne (6.94), Rhineland-Palatinate/Saarland (6.91), North Rhine/Dusseldorf (6.90), Westphalia (6.87), Saxony (6.79), Hesse (6.77), Berlin (6.68), Saxony-Anhalt (6.57), Mecklenburg-West Pomerania (6.56), Brandenburg (6.56) and Thuringia (6.45). Importance of profession
Deutsche Post also commissioned Professor Köcher to conduct a survey to examine the relationship between happiness and job satisfaction. According to the results, Germans place a lot of value on work: 90 percent of employed people said that their profession was very or fairly important. Those who expressed satisfaction with their job also showed an above-average level of happiness. By contrast, the happiness level of the unemployed (4.7) is currently well below the employed (7.1). One aspect was especially striking: what mattered most for high job satisfaction were immaterial factors such as performance recognition, work that is also fun, and a person's own abilities, which were even with decision-making authority, nice co-workers and a secure job.
, the German Happiness Atlas 2011 has 176 pages and is available in German immediately wherever books are sold.
For a summary of the study as well as regional fact sheets, please visit www.gluecksatlas.de (German only).