Are men’s happiness and life satisfaction linked to why men die earlier than women? A panel study from 1981 to 2020 in 102 countries.

Kayonda Hubert Ngamaba*, Ngianga-Bakwin Kandala, Francois Batuyekula Ilenda, Perseverante Kawata Mupolo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The motivation for happiness research rather than GDP is becoming important to the role of many governments across the globe. When people are asked to list the key characteristics of a good life, they are more likely to include happiness, health, living well and longer. This study investigates whether factors that predict men’s happiness and life satisfaction explain why men die earlier than women. The present research analyses data (N=426,452; 51.90% females) collected by the World Value Survey from 1981 to 2020 in 102 countries, and from six continents. A multilevel random-effects regression analysis was conducted in which individuals were nested by countries. We investigated variations across nations, country-level of development, and geographical regions. Men were slightly less happy and less satisfied with their lives compared to women. State of health, household’s financial satisfaction, freedom of choice, family importance, and being married were positively associated with happiness/life satisfaction. In contrast, being men, being in a low-income household, or being unemployed were negatively associated with happiness/life satisfaction. Unemployed men and men who were living in Africa or the Middle East regions were less satisfied with their lives compared to women. The excess mortality burden on men is due to a mix of biological, behavioural, and social factors. Happy people may live longer because of the underlying factors such as health status, household financial satisfaction, and social connections. Policies targeting men’s health and social connections are needed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-33
JournalJournal of Happiness and Health
Issue number1
Early online date29 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2023

Cite this