How happy are Russians?

Despite the crisis and economic turmoil, Russians consider themselves happy. Happiness index in the country has never been so high as during the last 2 years. But what makes Russians so happy?

The Happiness Index

According to the report by Russian public opinion research center (WCIOM), 81% of people in Russia are happy. And it’s been almost at the same level for the last 2 years, reports.

As seen from the diagram, the level of happiness has been growing steadily since the 1990s when it was a its bottom. The index of happiness dropped down to 6 in 1992, and at the end of 2016 it was at 66.

The index reached 70 in 2015, before that it dropped slightly to 59 after getting to 69 in 2012.

But at the moment, the index is at the slight decline after its 2015 pinnacle.

Thus, it’s not known whether the happiness level will be going down further during the next years or stabilize.

The researchers point out that the number of people satisfied with their lives is the highest among:

  • Youngsters aged 18-24 (88%)
  • Citizens with high level of income (95%)

And vice versa, older people (60+) appear to be less pleased with their lives (76%) as well as Russians who have financial issues (55%).

Happiness Index in Russia


What makes Russians happy

Let’s have a look at what makes Russia’s citizens excited about their lives:

  • Family (20%)
  • Kids (20%)
  • Good job (14%)
  • Health of the family (13%)
  • General well-being (13%)
  • Having a home, apartment (6%)
  • Stability and peace (6%)
  • Good financial situation (5%)

It’s curious that good financial situation (5%), self-realization (3%), and success in life (1%) occupied the lowest positions in the list of things that make people in Russia happy.

Locals are more likely to mention traditional values as things that bring them joy.

One of the readers of the last year’s report (having almost the same results) expressed his astonishment about its findings. He couldn’t understand why Russians didn’t value financial assets, prosperity, and lots of money. In the end, he concluded that “something must be seriously, awfully wrong about those Russians.”

Oleg Chernozub, the expert from VCIOM explains to that locals feel content with their lives but only from the subjective point of view. A limited source of happiness (family and kids) shows that Russians use compensatory mechanisms to distract their attention from problems associated with the economic crisis.

The diagram reveals that these reserves are still enough compared to the period of 1990s when nothing could make people happy.


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Even from the table above it is obvious that people underestimate a little youth and health. I am so happy when I and my family are healthy. I feel like when you value what you have, you are a happy person. There is nothing wrong in striving for things, though taking what you get for granted won’t turn out in your favor.


I was smiling reading about that research. This is one more evidence how unique Russian people are. This is time of business, money, market relations but in spite of it Russians can keep human relations, they still understand that close people, real friends are the most important, it is happiness. They understand that they can’t buy good health and you should be active to keep it.


This statistic proves that money is one of the last things Russians worry about. There are too many other things to be happy and satisfied-family, friends, children, health. It gives us hope in humanity and real human values. And this fact makes me happier.