Intergenerational Differences in Life Satisfaction and a Feeling of Happiness in Russia (Based on the European Social Survey Data)




youth, generation, happiness, life satisfaction, APC-Analysis, social change, Russian society, generational analysis


The article differentiates socialization experiences of young individuals belonging to four different generations and makes distinctions between socialization effects related to a set of age groups and factors of a particular historical period. The paper is based on the most complete empirical evidence describing happiness and life satisfaction levels in Russia drawn from ESS, a comparative cross-national survey, and uses regression analysis of spatial-temporal data. The findings obtained are compared with (1) the results of a study on subjective well-being carried out by the HSE Laboratory for Comparative Social Research which uses the World Values Survey data; (2) the results of HSE Monitoring of Economic and Health Situation in Russia; (3) the VCIOM data, and other studies thus enhancing reliability of the obtained results. Generations X (socialization in a crisis context) and Y (secondary socialization in the 2004-2014 period) and Generation Z which is admittedly in the making (their secondary socialization falls on 2014, a politically remarkable year, and the years that followed) are growing up in another social, economic and political reality  affecting inter se differences in happiness and life satisfaction levels. The study investigates the state of happiness and its relationship both with social status characteristics of a respondent (education, income level, family) and respondent’s belonging to a generation. The discontent of young people, who show higher levels of happiness compared to other groups, about unrealized social expectations is growing. Thus, the authors conclude that a feeling of discontent in the Russian society will be rising.

Acknowledgments. The article is part of “Challenges of the welfare state transformation in Russia: institutional changes, social investment, and digitalization of social services” project (no. 19-18-00246) supported by the Russian Science Foundation.

Author Biographies

Vladimir A. Sibirev, St Petersburg State University

  • Saint Petersburg State University, Saint Petersburg, Russia
    • Cand. Sci. (Economics), Assistant Professor at the Department of Social Analysis and Mathematical Methods in Sociology 

Nikolay A. Golovin, St Petersburg State University

  • Saint Petersburg State University, Saint Petersburg, Russia
    • Dr. Sci. (Sociol.), Professor at the Department of History and Theory of Sociology