Dados vol. 58 n. 1 Rio de Janeiro jan./mar. 2015

Income, Social Relations and Happiness in Brazil

Ribeiro, Carlos Antonio Costa


The aim of this article is to describe the distribution of 'subjective well-being' or 'happiness' among the Brazilian population. In addition to a brief review of the literature in psychology, economy and sociology on the subject, the text presents data comparing Brazil to 134 other countries. The central point of the article is the elaboration of a statistical model capable of describing the main factors correlated to 'happiness'. In contrast to previous works in Brazil, our analysis reveals that, in addition to material conditions (especially income), several forms of social relation and perception are fundamental to explain the variation in the distribution of 'happiness'. The data analyzed originates from the research 'Social Dimensions of Inequality,' composed of a probabilistic sample of the Brazilian population, collected from 8,048 households in 2008.

Keywords: subjective well-being, happiness, income, social stratification, social relationships

DOI: 10.1590/00115258201538

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Income, Social Relations and Happiness in Brazil