New research reveals that people who migrate to wealthier countries aren't any happier

Jul 22, 2013

Do migrants from Eastern European countries become happier once they have settled in Western Europe?

A University of Leicester sociologist has investigated this question—and the answer might make potential think twice before packing their bags. Most migrants were no happier after —and migrants from Poland were significantly less happy.

In a paper published in 'Migration Studies', Dr. David Bartram analyses data from the European Social Survey of more than 42,000 people to try and determine whether happiness can be gained by moving to another country.

Dr Bartram's research compared the happiness of migrants to the happiness of people remaining in the country the migrants had left ('stayers').

"Migrants from eastern Europe do not appear to have gained happiness via migration to western Europe. Migrants are happier than stayers—but the analysis suggests that migrants were already happier than stayers, even prior to migration. So, the happiness advantage of migrants doesn't emerge as a consequence of migration; that advantage was already present before migration," he said.

"In general, research on happiness indicates that people don't make lasting gains in happiness when they gain an increase in their incomes", said Dr Bartram.

"Migrants, however, might be able to increase their incomes quite a lot by moving to a wealthier country. Even if they do, though, they might end up in a lower 'relative' position in the destination country—and relative position usually matters more for happiness than one's 'spending power' or 'absolute income'".

Dr Bartram, of the Department of Sociology, found that migrants from Eastern Europe as a whole do not appear to have gained happiness by migrating to Western Europe. However, it depends on where the migrant comes from.

He said: "If average happiness is quite low in the origin country such as Russia and Turkey, then an increase in happiness would likely occur. However, for a country such as Poland where people are generally happier (at least in comparison to Russia, for example), there appears to be decrease in happiness for those who go to western Europe."

Dr Bartram explains that his research is important for those who are considering migrating to a wealthier country in order to try and gain income and become happier.

"It raises the possibility that people who think life is better in wealthier countries—and who thus go to a wealthier county to try and improve their own lives – might be disappointed by what they experience there."

Explore further: Affirmative action elicits bias in pro-equality Caucasians

Related Stories

Successful remigration is a myth

Jun 27, 2013

(Phys.org) —Migrants that return to their home country rarely stay there for the rest of their life. Much more common is 'circular migration', where migrants live alternatingly in host and home countries and are therefore ...

Resilience in trying times—a result of positive actions

Jun 12, 2013

Communities that stick together and do good for others cope better with crises and are happier for it, according to a new study by John Helliwell, from the University of British Columbia in Canada, and colleagues¹. Their ...

Recommended for you

Affirmative action elicits bias in pro-equality Caucasians

5 hours ago

New research from Simon Fraser University's Beedie School of Business indicates that bias towards the effects of affirmative action exists in not only people opposed to it, but also in those who strongly endorse equality.

Election surprises tend to erode trust in government

Jul 24, 2014

When asked who is going to win an election, people tend to predict their own candidate will come out on top. When that doesn't happen, according to a new study from the University of Georgia, these "surprised losers" often ...

Awarded a Pell Grant? Better double-check

Jul 23, 2014

(AP)—Potentially tens of thousands of students awarded a Pell Grant or other need-based federal aid for the coming school year could find it taken away because of a mistake in filling out the form.

User comments : 31

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

antialias_physorg
4.5 / 5 (2) Jul 22, 2013
In general, research on happiness indicates that people don't make lasting gains in happiness when they gain an increase in their incomes

No? Really? Do tell...

(and some people still don't seem to have gotten the memo and waste their lives trying to earn more than their neighbors instead of earning enough for their needs)

Bartram explains that his research is important for those who are considering migrating to a wealthier country in order to try and gain income and become happier.

As this is something that is decided very much on a case by case basis I doubt that anyone will find value in a study based on averages. It's like saying "do not play the lottery because on average you won't win" - but since no one is playing for the average such a statement is pointless.

The study itself IS interesting as a guideline for national decision makers in that a policy whose only goal is 'more wealth' does not equate to a happier people (read: happier electorate)
wwqq
5 / 5 (2) Jul 22, 2013
Of course. Relative wealth matters more than absolute wealth for people's happimess beyond some minimum subsistence level.
VendicarE
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 22, 2013
It is the same story over and over again. Money does not buy happiness, even though Economists, Libertarians, and Randites insist that that it must.

ryggesogn2
2.1 / 5 (11) Jul 22, 2013
What is the objective definition of 'happy'?
geokstr
1.6 / 5 (10) Jul 22, 2013
Money may not buy "happiness" if all else is equal. What it can buy is freedom from worries about all those things on the first rung and part of the next one on Maslow's hierarchy of needs, which frees up one's time and energy to climb up the ladder to the more existential levels.
PeterParker
2.6 / 5 (5) Jul 22, 2013
"What is the objective definition of 'happy'?" - RyggTard

What is the objective definition of love, Tardieboy?

What is the objective definition of IQ?

What is the objective definition of Blue?

You poor Tard....

Shouldn't you be off somewhere quoting non-existent people to support your failed Randite Liedeology?

PeterParker
3 / 5 (6) Jul 22, 2013
"What it can buy is freedom from worries" - Geokstr

To a great extent, when the state guarantees the essentials of life, worry is a thing of the past.

In failed capitalist systems like America, worry is so strong that Americans have a reduced life expectancy as a result.

Telekinetic
1.5 / 5 (8) Jul 22, 2013
Western assumptions of misery is the culprit here. In speaking with a young woman whose parents lived in East Berlin before the fall of the Berlin Wall described their lives as without inadequacy and fundamentally no different than their present life in West Berlin. However, if you tried to leave East Berlin by jumping over the wall you would have been shot dead, so there was a politically repressive government that must have had some impact on life there. Ironically, immigrants usually find contempt, derision, and intolerance in their new homes from the miserable natives.
ryggesogn2
2 / 5 (12) Jul 22, 2013
To a great extent, when the state guarantees the essentials of life, worry is a thing of the past.

Until the state runs out of other people's money.
The 'essentials' of life are always expanding requiring the state to plunder more wealth to redistribute.
Cell phones are now considered an 'essential' for life. Obama phones are now being sold for drugs, clothes, ....
""TracFone is upset because I'm fighting to end this program, which would also end their corporate welfare," Vitter said. "The program was created to expand access to landline service for low-income households, but unfortunately it's expanded far beyond its original intent. Now it's an out-of-control, fraud-ridden entitlement program that spoils what should be a worthwhile helping hand.""
http://www.vitter...program-
And NY welfare recipients are sending food out of the country.
VendicarE
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 22, 2013
"Until the state runs out of other people's money." - RyggTard

The key thing is to avoid voting for Republicans and Librertarian Traitors who advocate a policy of bankrupting the state in order to reduce it's size.

What was that plan called again Tardieboy? I have told you at least two dozen times by now.

Oh ya. It was/is called "starve the beast".

Don't you remember George Bush's Libertarian, Traitor, brother Jeb Bush when he stated "We must manufacture an (economic) crisis in order to assure that there are no alternatives to a smaller government." - Jeb Bush - Impress Magazine 1995.

You should remember as I have quoted it to you also at least two dozen times.
VendicarE
1 / 5 (2) Jul 22, 2013
What kind of economic crisis do you think that Jeb Bush wanted to create for America RyggWTard?

Do you think the Republicans have succeeded in bankrupting America? Or is there more work to do?
VendicarE
1 / 5 (2) Jul 22, 2013
"Cell phones are now considered an 'essential' for life." - RyggTard

Sorry TardieBoy, but only the mentally deficient like yourself believe that cell phones are essential for life.

The rest of us believe that they are very good tools for finding work, particularly if you are unemployed and don't have a personal phone.

You do want the unemployed to find employment don't you?

"Obama phones are now being sold for drugs, clothes, ...." - RyggTard

Phones stolen from Walmart, Target, and Radio Shack are also sold for drugs, clothes, etc.

Do you think the theft of Government phones is made any less a form of theft because phones from Wallmart and Target are also stolen?

Try and explain your reasoning Tardieboy, without producing supporting quotes from fictional people, or people who are paid to lie, as you have done in other posts.

Come on TardieBoy... you can do it.
VendicarE
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 22, 2013
But what are these so called "ObamaPhones" anyhow?

In a nutshell, they are a non-issue. They are not purchased by the government, and the Obama Administration does not provide them to consumers.

These phones are provided at low cost to low income individuals who otherwise would not have access to a telephone. The program is called "lifeline" is privately funded by the telephone companies themselves, and was active long before the Obama Administration came to power.

So once again what we see coming from RyggTard and his Tea Tard brothers in crime, is nothing but Lies... Lies... Lies...

And then more lies.

alfie_null
5 / 5 (1) Jul 23, 2013
Money may not buy "happiness" if all else is equal. What it can buy is freedom from worries about all those things on the first rung and part of the next one on Maslow's hierarchy of needs, which frees up one's time and energy to climb up the ladder to the more existential levels.

Maslow's hierarchy is actually a poor argument for chasing money. Contrary to your observation, of the seven items on the first rung (physiological), money can effectively address only "food", "homeostasis" and to a small extent "water". And once those simple needs are addressed, increasing the amount of money doesn't serve much purpose. The second rung (security) is social issues, not largely money issues.

When considering all the other items on all the other rungs in the context of wealth, it's easy to think of examples in which people have tried to address all those items with wealth. To discover again it doesn't work very well.
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (2) Jul 23, 2013
The second rung (security) is social issues, not largely money issues.

I think he would argue it is a money issue - since I'm pretty sure his idea of 'security' is buying a gun (and on a larger scale buying thugs/hitmen/an army).

it's easy to think of examples in which people have tried to address all those items with wealth. To discover again it doesn't work very well.

Amen. Doesn't seem to keep the braindead from trying again and again, though.

Those who are unwilling to learn from history...
ryggesogn2
2.1 / 5 (11) Jul 23, 2013
Why do 'liberals' care how a wealthy, or want to be wealthy, individual does to find or buy what he thinks is happiness?
I don't think it's because they really care about the feelings of the individual.
Could it be they are afraid too many will discover have sufficient wealth (defined by the individual) creates peace of mind, security to pursue what really makes them 'happy'? And 'liberals' can't acknowledge that wealth does contribute to 'happiness' as it destroys their socialist world view.
casualjoe
1 / 5 (1) Jul 23, 2013
Long term happiness >> boom and bust happiness, in my humble O.
ryggesogn2
2 / 5 (12) Jul 23, 2013
It is interesting how it's the 'liberals' who are the ones who assume money buys happiness.
It's the 'liberals' who want to control all money.
And like an illusionist, 'liberals' try to distract attention (as with articles like these) while trying to gain control of all money.
Controlling all money and wealth really makes 'liberals' happy.
geokstr
1.7 / 5 (11) Jul 23, 2013
"What is the objective definition of 'happy'?" - RyggTard

What is the objective definition of love, Tardieboy?

What is the objective definition of IQ?

What is the objective definition of Blue?

You poor Tard....

Shouldn't you be off somewhere quoting non-existent people to support your failed Randite Liedeology?

VendicarE(Decarian,B,C,D,E...Zz), is this your new sockpuppet? It was registered only a few months ago and has taken on your exact philosophy (such as it is.) Have the moderators finally warned you to stop your abusive comments, and this is your next sig?

Note how there's a perfect correlation in the style, use of the same exact ad homs, down to the exact same spelling of the childish name-calling. If I had one of those programs that identify plagiarism, it probably would register a direct hit on this one.
ryggesogn2
1.8 / 5 (10) Jul 24, 2013
This is how Detroit, Greece, ....went bankrupt:

"1.3 Americans have dropped out of the labor force for every one job the administration claims to have created. -"
"That means that more than two Americans have been added to the food stamp rolls for every one job the administration says it has created.

Under Obama, 1.6 million more Americans are collecting disability insurance. In February 2009, 9,334,369 Americans received disability payments. Today, that number is 10,953,733.
- See more at: http://www.cnsnew...Snw.dpuf
How happy are people on the dole?
VendicarE
1 / 5 (1) Jul 24, 2013
I can think of no better form of protection than the implementation of a socialist state in which the basics of food, shelter, health care, and some wealth are assured by the state so that there is vastly reduced motivation for "superior", and "creative" individuals to employ the right of theft, given to them by the ideals of Libertarian/Randite "Social Darwinism", in order to take from those who happen to have what they want.
VendicarE
1 / 5 (1) Jul 24, 2013
"This is how Detroit, Greece, ....went bankrupt:" - RyggTard

"1.3 Americans have dropped out of the labor force for every one job the administration claims to have created. -"

Sorry, but that isn't how either Greece or Detroit went bankrupt.

Detroit went bankrupt because the loss of the the automotive companies that employed the citizens of Detroit abandoned the city, and this caused a downward spiral of unemployment, lower income levels, precipitating more companies leaving,

Detroit probably would have still managed if Republicans had not assisted American Corporations in shutting down their businesses and moving them to other countries.

That form of Republican/Libertarian Treason has been good for Multinational Corporations, but very bad for the American worker.

Average American workers now rank 27's in the world. Far below those of the Advanced Socialist states.

http://www.zerohe...bally-27
VendicarE
1 / 5 (1) Jul 24, 2013
"In February 2009, 9,334,369 Americans received disability payments. Today, that number is 10,953,733." - RyggTard

1: As the American population grows older, I expect to see higher numbers.

2: As the following Graphic shows, Disability rates grew highest under the Tenure of George, War Criminal - Bush.

http://www.thefis...amp;as=1
VendicarE
3 / 5 (2) Jul 24, 2013
"It is interesting how it's the 'liberals' who are the ones who assume money buys happiness.
It's the 'liberals' who want to control all money." - RyggTard

Yes. RyggTard's fantasies are interesting. But only from a Clinical standpoint of accessing the extent of his mental illness.

I don't know how "all money" could be controlled, and I certainly don't know anyone other than mentally Ill Randites who even imply that is possible, but I do note that is was the lack of government control over the banking industry - Deregulated under the Libertarian philosophy of George - War Criminal Bush - that caused the U.S. economy to collapse just before the end of his administration.

Tardieboy believes that Obama went back in time, Caused the collapse, before he was President, and now blames it on Bush.

The reality of course is that there hasn't been an economic policy advanced by Randites and Libertarians that hasn't resulted in complete failure for the American people.

Tardie demands more
VendicarE
3 / 5 (2) Jul 24, 2013
"Why do 'liberals' care how a wealthy, or want to be wealthy, individual does to find or buy what he thinks is happiness?" - RyggyTard

Because unlike Libertarians, we find that Child prostitution is abhorrent.

Unlike RyggTard, we simply don't agree with the Randite position that a wealthy man or woman purchasing the sexual services of children to make themselves happy is a moral thing to permit.

But as the Libertarians say, there is no legitimate claim of molestation if the child is willing.

VendicarE
3 / 5 (2) Jul 24, 2013
"And 'liberals' can't acknowledge that wealth does contribute to 'happiness' as it destroys their socialist world view." - RyggTard

And yet the socialist states have populations that are generally happier than the population of the failed American State.

Grubbing for nickles and dimes and self prostitution is the primary goal of every American.

In the socialist states there is more room to sit back, smell the roses, and choose one's lifestyle. This is why Socialists are generally happier and less stressed than their sad American Counterparts.

VendicarE
1 / 5 (1) Jul 24, 2013
But what are these so called "ObamaPhones" anyhow?

In a nutshell, they are a non-issue. They are not purchased by the government, and the Obama Administration does not provide them to consumers.

These phones are provided at low cost to low income individuals who otherwise would not have access to a telephone. The program is called "lifeline" is privately funded by the telephone companies themselves, and was active long before the Obama Administration came to power.

So once again what we see coming from RyggTard and his Tea Tard brothers in crime, is nothing but Lies... Lies... Lies...

And then more lies.
aeolius
not rated yet Jul 27, 2013
There is a basic assumption in this study which is probably false. The assume that people migrate so that they will have a better life. I suggest that the real answer is that most people who migrated do not expect to be happier. Living in an alien culture for most is an uncomfortable experience. They do migrate so that their children will have a better life.
Self-sacrifice for one's children, even self-sacrifice for having children is an idea disappearing in some in many "advanced" societies. Is it possible that the authors have sublimated this basic instinct of child rearing and project this upon less "sophisticated" Eastern Europeans?
ryggesogn2
1.4 / 5 (10) Jul 27, 2013
"The Lifeline cell phone giveaway program alone has doubled in size the last four years to $1.75 billion annually."
"Tracfone targets disadvantaged communities with advertising and door-to-door sales teams to advertise the free cell phone program, and has garnered 4 million Lifeline subscribers and $452 million from the Universal Service Fund program."
http://www.washin...l-phones
wwqq
5 / 5 (1) Aug 04, 2013
Deregulated under the Libertarian philosophy of George - War Criminal Bush - that caused the U.S. economy to collapse just before the end of his administration.


Financialization of everything and deregulation started slowly under Carter, accelerated under Reagan and kept on going. Moderate republican Clinton made important contributions, e.g. killing Glass-Steagall and not replacing that nutcase Greenspan who thinks regulation against fraud is unnescessary. Bush largest contribution would have slashing the number of white collar criminologists to the bone and again keeping that nutcase Greenspan.
VendicarE
1 / 5 (1) Aug 04, 2013
"The Lifeline cell phone giveaway program alone has doubled in size the last four years to $1.75 billion annually." - RyggTard

And it is a program setup by the Reagan Administration and expanded by the Bush Administration and paid for by the telephone companies.

http://money.cnn....dex.html

RyggTard has been repeatedly told this. Yet he continues to whine about this telephone program being run by Obama and implies that the general services fund is a government fund when in fact it is an industry fund.

Liar.. Liar.. Pants on Fire...