The true price of happiness is £34,000

Abigail Fenton
·2-min read
Over 12,500 people seek help for problem debt each week in the UK. (Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
People in the UK are happier if they are earning over £30,000. Photo: Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images/Sipa USA

Money does buy happiness — but it’ll cost you almost £34,000 ($42,500) a year, research suggests.

Research by Raisin UK, based on office of national statistics (ONS) data found Brits need to earn a minimum salary of £33,864 to be truly happy.

The average salary of the top 10 happiest cities in the UK is £33,864, suggesting that people in the UK are happiest if they are earning more than £30,000, compared with the lower salaries of unhappy cities. This is just over the UK average salary of £29,000.

However, this cost is much higher in the happiest cities in the ranking. The study also found Winchester, Hampshire is the happiest city in the whole of the UK.

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The average salary for people living and working in Winchester, or in this case the cost of happiness, is £35,346.

Winchester has one of the highest happiness ratings in the UK, which, combined with a life expectancy of 83.6 years.

Meanwhile, Lichfield, the second-happiest city in the UK, as an average salary of £33,360.

(Raisin UK)
(Raisin UK)

Careers that earn an average salary of about £33,000 or more include electricians, bin men, opticians and lorry drivers. Nurses in the UK also make between £20,000 and £33,000 on average.

The ONS Happy Planet Index data shows the score of happiness in the UK is 7.3 out of 10, meaning Brits are overall quite satisfied with life.

However, it's a different story when the data is applied worldwide. The average salary of the top 10 happiest countries is £64,057.28, suggesting happiness across the world is achieved more easily if people are earning close to the £65,000 mark.

How much you need to earn to be happy around the world. (Raisin UK)
How much you need to earn to be happy around the world. (Raisin UK)

Topping the index was Luxembourg, with an overall happiness score of 292, a expectancy of 82.1 years and a happiness index rating of 1.5.

Other countries that made the ranking include Ireland, Singapore and Denmark.

“While our research suggests money can buy happiness, it’s not always the case in real life when put into action. [But] money does help ease the stresses of daily life, which could mean a longer life expectancy in the long-term,” said Kevin Mountford, co-founder of Raisin UK.

“[This research], can help you decide what city across the UK and country in the world to live in to be the happiest you possibly can.”