February 20, 2010

Happiness Proof

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 12:08 am

Apparently, some of you would like to see data that more convincingly correlates to happiness. I think that might be out of scope for this blog, but we can give it a stab.  First, I’d like to clarify that I chose the data we looked at so far because Mormons themselves selected it to demonstrate the Mormonism = happiness relationship.  As demonstrated thus far, even if the data is held to correlate to happiness, it doesn’t show Mormonism as remotely related on any kind of regression analysis, even at the highest levels.

Alternative Happiness Data #1

Economic indicators which constitute the opposite of the Misery index. (

Pros:  The data is cheap and easy to get to, reasonably quantifiable and commonly accepted.

Cons:  Economics are a single factor in overall happiness, possibly not well correlated..

Results:  Utah is 26th, Idaho 44.  No correlation to Mormonism in the data.

Alternative Happiness Data #2

Self-reported data (Measuring Subjective Well-Being, Objective Confirmation of Subjective Measures of Human Well-Being: Evidence from the U.S.A. Andrew J. Oswald and Stephen Wu (29 January 2010) Science 327 (5965), 576. [DOI: 10.1126/science.1180606])

Cons:  Self-reported data in general is often subject to voluntary and involuntary distortion.

Results:  Self-reported happiness data correlated very poorly to income.  I couldn’t get their actual scale of happy states without  paying money which I don’t feel like doing at this point.  Also, their results were elaborated on by:

Results:  Available citations suggest no correlation to Mormonism.

Alternative Happiness Data #3

Self-reported data from alternative #2, combined with an array of quantifiable measures. (Objective Confirmation of Subjective Measures of Human Well-Being: Evidence from the U.S.A., Andrew J. Oswald, and Stephen Wu, Science 29 January 2010:
Vol. 327. no. 5965, pp. 576 – 579, )

Pros:  The researchers found objective measures which do correlate to self-reported happiness.

Cons:  The selected data does not necessarily show causation.  It is particularly useful to see how happiness indicators correlated to self-reported happiness levels.

Results:  Utah is 23rd, Idaho 14th.  No correlation to Mormonism in the data.

(pre-Katrina data)

1. Louisiana
2. Hawaii
3. Florida
4. Tennessee
5. Arizona
6. Mississippi
7. Montana
8. South Carolina
9. Alabama
10. Maine
11. Alaska
12. North Carolina
13. Wyoming
14. Idaho
15. South Dakota
16. Texas
17. Arkansas
18. Vermont
19. Georgia
20. Oklahoma
21. Colorado
22. Delaware
23. Utah

Survey results:

Data which does not demonstrate a correlation to Mormonism:

Well-being index
Economically based happiness indicators
Self-reported happiness
Self-reported happiness combined with objective indicators
Individual Indicators such as:
Divorce statistics
Suicide rates
Bankruptcy rates

Time to vote:

Does this make the case?

View Results

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