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What makes people happy? Finder happiness statistics 2024

Finder's research reveals financial security, home ownership and a good Internet connection make Aussies happy.

What is the key to happiness?

Some equate happiness with wealth, others with health. Some happy people are content with the relationships they keep. Others attain happy calm, faithful in the existence of a higher being.

What is the key to happiness? Decoding how to find happiness is a hot topic explored in almost every branch of human knowledge and every other person has something to say.

What makes you happy?

Finding happiness — trends in Australia

Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker (CST) found the majority of Australians consider themselves happy. Results from over 60,000 respondents also show what makes people happy — and though money definitely makes a difference, it may take more than raking in big bucks to enjoy a happy life.

Finder CST also reveals other interesting happiness trends among Aussies summed up below.

Key findings

  • 8 in 10 Aussies are happy.
  • Women are almost as happy as men despite earning less and saving less.
  • Baby boomers are the happiest generation while Gen X are the least cheerful.
  • Married people are happier than those who are divorced, separated, or never married.
  • Increasing income results in a rising number of happy people but only in lower income brackets.
  • People who are not paying off debt are more likely to be happy.
  • Homeowners are happier than renters.
  • Those who have insurance coverage are more likely to be happy.
  • Having a reliable home broadband makes people happy.
  • Those who put more trust in the Government are more likely to be happy.

Happiness, age, gender, and location

Finder research reveals that overall, 77% of Australians consider themselves happy.

A greater proportion of men report being happier (78% vs. 76% women).

Baby Boomers are the happiest people, reporting 4% more than Gen Z, the second happiest bunch. Gen X — or the so-called "sandwich generation" for being placed right smack in the middle of caring for both underaged children and ageing elders — are the least cheerful of all.

Across generations, Finder CST shows males are consistently happier than females. The largest gap (4%) seen between the sexes were among Gen Z.

Most Metro and Regional residents (77%) say they're happy. At the state level, those from ACT scored the highest proportion of happy residents (81%), while TAS residents scored the lowest (74%).

Happiness statistics over time shows that the proportion of happy Aussies are almost back to pre-pandemic levels (76%) and are almost at the same level as it was same period last year.

Happiness, wealth, and assets

Researchers have found financial stress and security to be significant predictors of overall happiness, and no less important than physical health or personal relationships. The ability to pay bills on time, repay debts and afford basic necessities alleviates anxiety.

Not surprisingly, how much we own impacts what makes us happy. Even so, Finder found happy women and men may be coping differently. The same thing holds true for Aussies belonging to different generations.

Happiness and household income

Household income is positively related to happiness. Less than two-thirds (64%) of households earning between $10,000 and $20,000 per year report feeling happy, compared to 87% of those earning above $200,000.

However, the chart does show that an increase in income makes the most difference to happiness in lower income brackets. For those with higher incomes, a marginal improvement on happiness is evident.

Those earning less than $10,000, who are happier than those earning between $10,000 and $30,000, is an exception. While it's difficult to say what makes people happy for those belonging to the lowest income bracket, results likely reflect the sentiment of the younger student population whose wealth and potential may not be accurately reflected.

Happiness, personal income, and savings

The proportion of happy people gradually increases with increasing personal income. This is true for Aussies earning between $10,000 and $250,000. Beyond that, happy people drop from 91% to just 84% — 7% lower than those earning between $200,000 and $250,000.

Results make it appear that money may not be all what it takes to make a good life possible. Finder CST results are consistent with research from the University of Pennsylvania.

Researchers found money is a consistent driving factor for happiness as income rises. However, at higher income levels, money becomes less relevant than other factors like health and relationships in attaining happiness in life.

When happiness and income are broken down further to reflect males vs. females, it seems women's happiness is less driven by how much money they make. More women (73% vs. 79% men) who make between $10,000 and $20,000 report being happy yet fewer women (82% vs. 90% of men) who make between $150,000 and $200,000 feel happy.

While the percentage differences in happiness between the sexes may seem insignificant, how much each group earns on average clearly shows gender pay gap in Australia is still very real. The average personal income of women is only about 60% of that of men. Yet, despite this fact, women are experiencing happiness at about the same level as men.

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On average, Aussies have $31,226 set aside as savings. Men have almost double ($41,100) what women have ($21,622). Unhappy men even saved a little more ($25,090) than happy women ($24,040).

It's not surprising then that Finder found more women claim they're able to live off their savings for less than a week (17% vs. 8% of men). What's striking is that a greater proportion of women who said so were happier (4% more) than men living under the same circumstances.

Happiness and job security

Working a job can mean waking up with a purpose, affording needs, and providing for dependents. Finder asked if the ability to keep a roof over your head indeed could contribute to making a happy person.

Most respondents (89%) who felt secure keeping their means of livelihood said they were happy. A downward trend in the proportion of happy people was observed as the perceived level of job security decreased.

Happiness and financial stress

Advice on how to be happy may go beyond measuring your means but what you have certainly impacts your sense of fulfilment.

Finder CST data shows happiness decreases as perceived financial stress increases. Overall, the same proportion of happy men and women (92%) who said they do not feel financially stressed at all was observed.

Meanwhile, among those who felt extremely stressed by their financial situation, only 46% of women said they were happy — i.e., 5% below the proportion of men who were happy under the same circumstances.

Combined gender and generational data reveal interesting trends in happiness as well.

Among Baby Boomers, a higher proportion of Aussie women who are extremely stressed reported being happy (35% vs. 30% men). For women belonging to Generations X (34% vs. 46% men), Y (47% vs. 60% men), and Z (48% vs. 59% men) a consistently lower percentage reported feeling extremely stressed but happy at the same time.

Studies have shown that financial security is one of the leading determinants of happiness among retirees so it's worth taking a hard look at your superannuation before you get there.

Choose a high-performing fund to ensure you make the most of compound growth over time, and try to keep your annual fees below 1% of your balance per year.

If you can, salary sacrificing part of your income allows you to contribute to your fund before tax, paving the path for a healthy and stress-free retirement.

Happiness and assets owned

Assets like properties and cars are things that could make anybody happy. Not only do these assets provide comfort and convenience, but also financial stability. Nonetheless, maintenance requires spending, at least until after assets are sold.

Happiness and home ownership

Australians are obsessed with property, and home ownership is often taken as a sign that a person has achieved financial freedom.

Finder survey results show homeowners who have paid off their mortgage are the happiest (85%), followed by those who are still paying off their mortgage (80%). The lowest proportion of happy people was reported by renters (70%).

Respondents who are not homeowners were further asked when they see themselves buying a property. Majority of respondents (28%) said they don't think they'll ever be able to afford it. Of those, about half were unhappy. Meanwhile, those who see themselves owning a home within the next 1 to 5 years (27%) reported the highest proportion of happy people.

About 33% of respondents said they're struggling to pay for rent or home loan. Among those who struggle, majority (62%) still reported being happy (vs. 80% of those who don't struggle).

Happiness and car ownership

More than half (61%) of the respondents own just 1 car. Of whom, 77% reported being happy. Though the highest proportion of happy people were reported by those who own 2 cars (84%), followed by those who own 3 or more cars (82%).

Happiness, debt, and spending

Finder asked respondents if they've ever paid late fees for bank loans, credit card bills, utilities, or buy now pay later service. Majority (72%) said they haven't. This group also reported the highest proportion of happy people.

Credit cards

About 41% of respondents maintain just 1 credit card, majority of whom (79%) reported being happy. The highest proportion of happy credit card holders (83%), however were reported by those who have 3 credit cards, although only 4% of respondents had that many in their pockets.

Among those who don't use credit cards (36%), 7 in 10 were happy living without the plastic. Meanwhile, none of the respondents had 5 or more credit cards in their wallets.

The highest percentage of Aussies who don't use credit cards was observed among Gen Z (55%). Of whom, 3 in 4 said they were happy.

Among those who use credit cards, 3 in 5 said they can pay off their bills in a month. About 83% of whom reported being happy. Only 4% said they'd be able to pay off their credit card balances in full within 60 months. Half (53%) of this group reported being happy.

Not surprisingly, the longer it will take to pay off a person's credit card debt, the less likely they are to be happy.

Home loan

We've seen that homeowners are happier than those identifying with other conditions of residence. Until that home loan is paid off, however, mortgage stress can be a powerful determinant of happiness.

Only 31% of respondents have availed of home loan. A whopping 58% don't have it nor ever plan on getting one. Of whom, 76% reported being happy vs. 81% of those who have a home loan.

Personal loan

Only 14% have a personal loan. Of whom 79% are happy. Meanwhile, close to 8 in 10 (77%) reported not having this debt or ever plan on getting one. Of whom 76% are happy.

Car loan

Although Aussies who drive more than 1 vehicle said they were happier, it's doubtful that those who are paying off a car loan will be as ecstatic with their bills.

While only 1 in 10 have availed of a car loan, 9 in 10 reported being happy vs. 8 in 10 among those who don't and are not planning on getting one (78% of all respondents).

Happiness and spending

If having more money is what makes people happy, do people who spend more or less feel any happier?

Finder asked respondents how positively or negatively they feel about their monthly spending. Less than half (46%) are within the spectrum of perceiving their spending as being positive although a high 9 in 10 reported being happy.

In contrast, among those who are pessimistic about their monthly spending (47%), only 6 in 10 (64%) reported being happy.

Happiness and Internet connection

Frustrated with your dodgy broadband? Finder CST revealed that the happiest people are those who say they are extremely satisfied with their Internet connection (85%) vs. 75% for those who are extremely dissatisfied.

Majority of respondents (46%) said they were somewhat satisfied with their home broadband. Of whom, 8 in 10 said they were happy.

If uninterrupted Netflix and video calls bring you joy then it could be worth upgrading your home Internet.

Happiness and health

Does being healthy make a happy person or does being happy make a person healthy? If health is a determinant of happiness then happiness might as well come at a cost. That could mean shelling out about $160 a month — the cost of private health insurance.

About 16% of respondents said that the cost of health insurance stresses them out vs. about twice as many respondents (35%) saying the cost of rent or mortgage is what keeps them on their toes. Of those who are stressed by health insurance premiums, 4 in 5 said they were happy.

Between the sexes, about 58% of men have health insurance vs. 53% of females. Of whom, 48% of men vs 42% women said they were happy.

Happiness and insurance

Apart from health insurance, Finder CST revealed a similar trend in happiness for other forms of insurance. A greater proportion of those who have insurance coverage reported being happy, specifically:

    • More than half of respondents (59%) have home and contents insurance. Of whom, 81% said they were happy vs. 68% of those who don't have this coverage.
    • Only about a fourth (24%) of respondents availed of life insurance coverage. Of whom 83% were happy, that is, 11% more than those who did not have cover.
    • About 17% of respondents had income protection insurance. Of whom 82% said they were happy vs. 75% of those who didn't have this.
    • Some 86% of those who have pet insurance said they were happy vs. 75% of those who did not.

Insurance provides a sense of financial security in the event of sudden need, such as accidents. The coverage provided by these products help relieve anxiety and bring peace of mind.

Happiness and relationships

Research consistently shows that personal relationships and social connectedness are the leading indicators of happiness and wellbeing. The Harvard Study of Adult Development followed 268 men over the course of 80 years and found close relationships to be the number one factor in keeping people happy, mentally stimulated, and helping them to live longer.

Another study among retirees in China found social participation to have a significant impact on happiness and wellbeing later in life.

Trends in Finder CST reveal that those who are married or have partners registered the highest proportion of respondents who said they were happy (83%) vs. those who were divorced (69%), separated (63%), or never married (69%).

About 8 in 10 of those who are widowed said they were happy. Good experiences with deceased spouse or partners could be one of the reasons why a higher proportion of this group still reported being happy vs. respondents identifying with groups other than those who are married.

So keep your loved ones close and remember to invest time and effort in building your social networks.

Happiness and trust in the government

The Government has a key role to play as a facilitator of what makes people happy — security, personal growth, economic development, and closing social disparities where they exist to achieve equity and equality for all.

A third of Aussies (32%) have moderate trust towards the Government, followed by those who said they had little trust (24%) and do not trust the Government at all (20%). Those who said they trust the Government a lot (17%) follow with the least being those who said they trust the Government a great deal (7%).

Taking a closer look at the proportion of people reporting they are happy relative to the level of confidence they have for the Government, those who have a great deal of trust also exhibited the highest proportion of happy people (87%). Decreasing trust consistently showed a corresponding decrease in happiness. Those who reported the least trust in Government also showed the lowest proportion of happy people (76%).

World Happiness Report: AU ranks 10th

The World Happiness Index ranks Australia as the number 10 happiest place on earth in 2024, that is, two notches higher than in 2023. Results were based on responses collected between 2021 and 2023.

A total of 143 countries were included, with the Top 5 world happiest countries in 2024 being dominated by Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, and Israel. Finland has secured the highest ranking for the sixth year in a row.

The five lowest ranking countries — Afghanistan, Lebanon, Lesotho, Sierra Leone, and Congo (Kinshasa) — are all located in areas of armed conflict, and correspond to lower-income countries. Results indicate that income, political instability, and national security are likely related to individual levels of happiness.

The World Happiness Report evaluates the level of happiness of each UN member state using both self-reported quality of life measures and a selection of socioeconomic indicators, including GDP per capita, life expectancy, social support, trust and corruption, perceived freedom to make life decisions, and generosity.

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How to find happiness

Finder CST revealed a long list of what makes people happy. From owning assets to enjoying a reliable Internet connection to trusting the Government. It takes a lot of work to get to the level of being happy without wanting more, however. So, make sure to protect your assets and keep building towards your financial goals.

It's interesting to note how people do not seem to derive an unlimited supply of happiness from simply owning more material things. So don't let your most important relationships crumble while you chase your professional development or financial freedom. Make sure to put in time and effort to collect experiences and create wonderful memories with people you care about the most.

People will have different things to say about how to find happiness. What's more important is that you do what makes you happy.

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Written by


Sophie Wallis is a senior insights analyst with a passion for data storytelling. She spends her time turning complex data into digestible stories and uncovering new consumer trends. When she isn't working, you'll find her planning her next overseas holiday or bingeing on a big novel. Sophie has a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Melbourne. See full bio

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Co-written by

Content Marketing Specialist

Margaux Diaz is Content Marketing Specialist at Finder. She supports the SEO team in content promotion and partnership building in the US and Australia. Prior to joining Finder, she managed health promotion and other social development projects for the United Nations and consulted for private non-profits, and government agencies. She has also written for publications and blogs in the health and wellness, beauty, fitness, non-profits, business, and finance spaces. See full bio

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