Is the U.S. Moving Toward a Happiness Index?
Most countries measure how well they’re doing in stark numbers: money earned, electronics sold and homes built. But an increasing number are asking: Shouldn’t we find out how happy people are with all this stuff? The United States, home to the smiley face and the Happy Meal, is attempting to do just that, responding to a movement that has been hailed as revolutionary and derided as “silly” or worse.
Several cities and states are already looking into citizen well-being or floating happiness initiatives. Yet the real game changer could be a federally funded panel that is studying whether there’s a better way to tally prosperity. The panel, which started work in December and will report its findings next year, will recommend whether measures of happiness (and misery) should be added to the equation, and if so, how.