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What is Gross National Happiness, and how is it measured?


Gross National Happiness (GNH) is an assessment of a nation’s overall well-being, and was created as an alternative to the economic measure Gross Domestic Product. The term was conceived and developed in Bhutan beginning in the early 1970’s, and is now being used in the United States and other nations by both governments and non-governmental organizations.
GNH is calculated by measuring 9 “domains” or “dimensions” of happiness: psychological well-being, standard of living, good governance, health, use of time, education, community vitality, cultural diversity, and environmental conditions.
Article resources and locations for further reading:
  • “Gross national happiness” Wikipedia entry - provides a general overview of the subject
  • Centre for Bhutan Studies - Provides particular information about GNH results in Bhutan, as well as helpful explanation of the 9 domains of GNH, and a series of short videos which explain the principles underlying and stemming from GNH.
  • Gross National Happiness USA - GNHUSA is a Vermont-based non-profit group dedicated to raising awareness of GNH in the United States. 
  • The Happiness Initiative - Provides a 15-minute survey to measure one’s happiness, as well as toolkits and other information on conducting a “happiness initiative”.