Cross-National Differences in Level of Happiness in the Post-Soviet Countries: A Comparative Analysis




happiness, subjective wellbeing, cross-national differences, comparative analysis, post-Soviet countries, World Value Survey, European Social Survey, equivalence of social indicators in cross-national research


Cross-national differences in the subjective evaluation of happiness in the post-Soviet countries range substantially from 63% in Moldova to 96% in Uzbekistan. Conventional linear economic model fails to explain those differences. The data of four trend comparative surveys (WVS, EVS, ISSP and ESS) shows that two different sets of factors influence the evaluation of happiness among general population in this region. National characteristics and cultural factors have the main impact in Central Asian countries, Azerbaijan and Armenia. This group of countries is characterized by the high level of happiness scores, low differentiation of scores among general population and weak relationship between the evaluation of happiness and economic or political indicators. In contrast, socio-economic factors, such as the level of economic development, freedom from corruption, and human capital play the major role in explaining happiness in Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Baltic countries and Georgia These countries are characterized by lower general happiness scores and stronger relation of it with socio-demographic and economic factors. Large cross-national differences in subjective evaluation of happiness can be explained by the differences in mechanisms and factors influencing the percept ion of happiness in the post-Soviet countries.

Acknowledgements. This article is supported by the Russian Science Foundation, grant no. 18-18-00341 “Transformation of Values and Subjective Quality of Life: a Regional Perspective”.

Author Biography

Anna V. Andreenkova, CESSI - Institute for Comparative Social Research

  • CESSI — Institute for Comparative Social Research, Moscow, Russia
    • Dr. Sci. (Soc.), Senior Researcher