Does a rising income correlate with a rising happiness quotient?  Yes, to a point, says original and ongoing research by Gallup and Sharecare in conjunction with Time. Happiness quotients (let’s include happiness, enjoyment, smiling/laughter, well being in the term happiness quotient) do rise with rising incomes but happiness quotients are also influenced by where one lives.

So, the next question…does your zip code coupled with your income level correlate with you happiness quotient?  Same answer…yes, to a point.  Income ceilings (annual income levels) are lower in some regions of the country for experiencing positive emotions.  For the purposes of this post, let’s divide the country into four regions based upon happiness quotients and correlating income ceilings.

Source: GALLUP
  1.  The West North Central and West South Central areas of the country experience happiness when the income ceiling reaches $54,000. annually
  2. The South, New England, East South Central and South Atlantic areas of the country experience happiness when the income ceiling reaches $75,000.
  3. The Mid Atlantic, Mountain and Pacific areas of the country experience happiness when the income ceiling reaches $105,000.
  4. The East North Central (think Michigan and Wisconsin around the Great Lakes) area of the country experiences happiness when the income level reaches $120,000.

Surprised about the East North Central part of the country having the highest price tag requirements to reach positive emotions?  A fair hypothesis put forth by Dan Witter, head researcher at  Gallup, is that “…this is a reflection of people feeling disenchanted, disgruntled, feeling left behind…” thus needing more money to experience a sense of well being.

Worth noting is that without exception, residents in every region across the country who were in the highest income bracket experience the best overall satisfaction ratings. Also, the cost of living may, but not in all regions of the country, play a role in the relationship between different income levels and the odds of experiencing positive emotions.  For example, in Atlanta, the income ceiling is $42,000. to experience positive emotions.  In Seattle, New York City, Los Angeles and Philadelphia, the income ceiling is $105,000.

But remember, says Dan Witter of Gallup, “It isn’t like in some regions you cap out at higher happiness quotients than others…New Yorkers at $105,000. are no happier than Chicagoans at $75,000. or Atlantans at $42,000.”  Yes, happiness quotients do correlate with to income ceilings and zip codes, but only to a point.



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