The 2013 Vermont Happiness Survey
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The Vermont Happiness Survey is the first state-based, random telephone study utilizing the Gross National Happiness (GNH) Index. This reports looks at the 2013 Vermont (statewide) results for the 10 GNH domains. The GNH Index was developed utilizing four decades of well-being, happiness and quality of life surveys to measure 10 GNH domains: psychological well-being; physical health; time balance; community vitality; social connectedness; education and cultural access; environmental quality/access to nature; good governance; material well-being; and work experience. The survey was designed to provide a solid baseline so that communities, towns and organizations can use the survey to identify trends and mark progress by measuring what matters.
The Vermont Happiness Survey is the first state-based, random telephone study using the Gross National Happiness (GNH) Index. The GNH Index was developed using four decades of well-being, happiness, and quality of life surveys to measure the 10 GNH domains:
Data collection for the 2013 Vermont Happiness Survey used a random sample of Vermont households and interviewed only respondents that were 18 years of age or more. Calling took place during weekdays and weekends between the hours of 9am and 8pm. A total of 426 completed responses were collected ensuring a confidence level of 95% and a confidence interval (Margin of Error) of +/-4.9%. This means that if this study were conducted 100 times, 95 of those times, results would fall within +/-4.9% of what was found in this effort.
The Gross National Happiness Index is directly inspired by work conducted in Bhutan which has later been used by the United Nations, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), numerous countries and communities (Centre For Bhutan Studies & GNH Research, February 29, 2016). The Vermont survey included Cantril’s Ladder of Life and four United Kingdom Quality of Life questions to enable wider comparisons. The survey was designed to provide a solid baseline so that communities, towns and organizations can use the survey to identify trends and mark progress by measuring what matters. Table A displays the Vermont Happines Survey questions by domain and their associated survey responses/response values.
Table A. 2013 Vermont Happiness Survey Domains by Question and Question Responses/Values
The GNH Index is used to collect data across the United States. The national survey uses a web-based, self-reporting response methodology that is different from the statistically-valid methods used in the Vermont data collection effort. While the methodologies are different, Table B displays some of the national results in the absence of other fully-comparable research at this time.
Table B. 2013 National Happiness Survey Results
Ryan T. Howell, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Psychology Department San Francisco State University Co-found of Beyond the Purchase
Michael Moser Coordinator, Vermont State Data CenterUniversity of Vermont, Center for Rural Studiesmmoser@uvm.edu, (802) 656-0864
Tom Barefoot Co-coordinator, Vermont Data Collaborative and Gross National Happiness, USAtom@gnhusa.org
Special Thanks to:
Carol Graham Leo Pasvolsky Senior Fellow, The Brookings InstitutionCollege Park Professor, University of Maryland
Valid response counts for the 2013 Vermont Happiness Survey include the number of complete responses received for each survey question. Sample counts represent the sample size for each survey question. Valid responses and sample counts were not calculated for the survey domains to limit confusion around the number of respondents.
Mean scores for individual Vermont Happiness Survey questions were calculated using the following formula:
([Sum of Scores from All Valid Responses] / [Total Number of Valid Responses])
Mean domain scores were calculated using the following formula:
([Sum of the Mean Valid Responses for All Questions in the Domain] / [Total Number of Questions in the Domain])
For a comprehensive list of question response sets/values making up each Vermont Well-being Survey domain, please refer to Table A in the Background tab/section.
The 2013 Vermont Happiness Survey used a random sample of Vermont households and interviewed only respondents that were 18 years of age or more. A telephone survey collection methodology was used, potentially increasing the risk for a lack of representativeness, as households with no landline telephone are not represented. Calling also only took place during weekdays and weekends between the hours of 9am and 8pm.
2013 Vermont Happiness Survey
Gross National Happiness
Michael Moser, Coordinator, Vermont State Data Center
Tom Barefoot, Co-coordinator, Vermont Data Collaborative and Gross National Happiness, USA
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