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People on a market square.

Happiness – it’s not about the money for Finns

Looking into factors explaining people’s happiness in Finland, researchers found that when it comes to money, having enough is more important than having a lot.

  • Text Sari Eskelinen Photos Raija Törrönen and Sakari Röyskö

Our society is dependent on economic growth, so enough will always be a little more than what we currently have.”

Arto O. Salonen


Arto Salonen.
Arto O. Salonen. Photo by Sakari Röyskö
Graphic image.
Perceived financial success was associated with life satisfaction and experiences of meaningfulness. Women experienced higher levels of life satisfaction and meaningfulness than men.

A 2018 study by Arto O. Salonen, Jani Siirilä and Mikko Valtonen found that recycling is part of Finnish people’s everyday routine and habits. Finns also favour domestic food and products, and they are interested in the origin of materials. In 2018, smart, carbon-free mobility was still a challenge, although 20% of Finns reported consideration of environmental effects when planning their holidays.

Another study by Salonen and Elina Lehikoinen, on the other hand, looked at food preferences among 30–60-year-old Finns. They found that the transition to more sustainable diets could be facilitated by the ensuing health benefits, such as weight loss, as well as by ecological benefits. Based on the study, middle-aged high-income men were most reluctant to adopt sustainable diets.

Finland has genuine potential to come up with solutions for the rest of the world, and that’s an opportunity worth seizing.

Arto O. Salonen


It seems that an ecowelfare state, one that is independent of growth, would open the door to a sustainable and happy future.

Teemu Koskimäki

Postdoctoral Researcher