New research from Stanford University on Financial Resources Impact the Relationship between Meaning and Happiness reveals that there is a link between wealth and happiness.

For the first time, we may now just have a scientific answer to ever lingering question: Does money buy happiness?

According to an analysis of more than 50 studies, individuals with lower incomes are almost two times more likely to suffer from depression compared to individuals in higher income categories (Lorant et al., 2003).

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Meanwhile, reduction in household income is associated with increased risk for incident mood disorders (Sareen et al., 2011).

Financial resources = better access

The study further reveals that: “With greater financial resources, people have greater access to external sources of happiness.”

It further details that those who have more financial resources have further access to ‘external’ sources of ‘happiness.

“For instance, by having more available money, people can spend more on such experiences as extraordinary travels and fancy meals, which research has shown positively contribute to happiness, but not to meaning in life. (Bhattacharjee & Mogilner, 2014; Dunn, Gilbert, & Wilson, 2011; Gilovich et al., 2014; Van Boven & Gilovich, 2003; Zhu, Su, Zhang, & Liu, 2021).”

Key findings

  • The degree of convergence between meaning and happiness depended on income level.
  • Significant interaction between income level and meaning on happiness.
  • Findings are consistent with the notion that meaning becomes more central to
    happiness for individuals with lower incomes.

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The research used the Gallup U.S. Daily Data (Well-Being Track) to investigate the convergence of happiness and meaning across income levels. The data were collected from 2013 through 2015 and cover all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia which consisted of 349,585 participants.