The relationship between income, religiosity and health: Their effects on life satisfaction

Eduard J. Bomhoff, Audrey Kim Lan Siah

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Within most countries, the rich are happier than the poor. Those who strongly believe in God are happier than non-believers. Plouffe and Tremblay (2017) probe whether these two patterns also hold at the national level. For religiosity, they find that more religious nations are less happy on average. Regarding income, they fail to find a national-level link between national income and self-reported life-satisfaction, even though much earlier research has shown that economic development up to a point certainly increases average well-being. We show that both findings are wrong and caused by their unusual (and logically incorrect) choice of an income variable at the national level. We re-work their analysis with the standard measure in research in this area, gross domestic product per capita, and confirm the common finding in the literature that national prosperity when properly measured has a very strong effect on average life satisfaction in a country. The national level of religiosity now has no effect on life-satisfaction, even though within most countries religious people are happier than average.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-173
Number of pages6
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019


  • Income
  • Life satisfaction
  • World values survey

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