Survey #6: Consumption & Happiness (n=403)

Survey 6 on Consumption and Well-being, completed in December 2009, continues the exploration of the consumption disposition.   Expanding on our values research, we borrowed question items based on forty years of world-wide research from Ron Inglehart and colleagues covering values, materialism and well-being.     The intent of this survey was to seek better explanations as why so many Oregonians believe consuming less would be better for us.  As this economic moment is being dubbed the ‘great recession’, the consume-less disposition has shown some strengthening after several earlier modest declines, with 48% strong agreement and 82% total agreement.    This survey employed more “open ended answers” to what such things as ‘consumption’, ‘global warming’, and ‘happiness’ mean to them. In a general sense, the results continue to affirm a deeply shared cultural view that consuming less shows significantly greater strength than more economic growth or stimulating consumption.  We also begin a comparison of the relationship of income, greenhouse emissions, and happiness between Oregon, the United States, and three countries with population characteristics similar to Oregon.   This analysis shows no correlation between income and subjective well-being, affirming people may actually understand the adage that ‘money can’t buy happiness’.

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