HAPPINESS IN ROTTERDAM: An analysis of 7 city surveys

EHERO working paper 2018/1
Erasmus Happiness Economics Research Organization, EHERO
Erasmus University Rotterdam, POB 1738, 3000DR Rotterdam Netherlands

Piet Ouweneel & Ruut Veenhoven

Rotterdam is a big city in the Netherlands, characterized by an economic focus on its port and industry, and by the large share of migrants and blue-collar workers in its population. Every two years a survey is conducted on the Rotterdam population and they are asked a wide variety of questions, including a question on their happiness. In this paper, we use the data on happiness to answer the following questions: 1) How happy are people in Rotterdam? 2) How happy are Rotterdammers compared to people living in other places?
3) Has happiness in Rotterdam changed in the past decade? 4) Does happiness differ across districts in Rotterdam? 5) What drives the differences in happiness found between different Rotterdam districts? We find that inhabitants of Rotterdam are fairly happy on average, but somewhat less happy than people in other places in the Netherlands. Average happiness increased slightly between 1997 and 2009, varying with the economic tide. There are substantial differences in happiness across districts in Rotterdam, these are largely due to composition of the population. Rotterdam has attracted relatively many not too happy people, more of whom live in some districts than in others.

Keywords: life-satisfaction, urban environment, trend, local differences

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