The Role of Demographic and Socio-Economic Characteristics in Affecting Subjective Well-being. The Case of Hungary

Péter Róbert


The paper investigates the influence of various demographic and social factors on the perception of well-being in Hungary. For the purpose of the analysis, various measures of subjective well-being have been developed, as dependent variables, using both narrower and broader set of items, and principal factor analysis was applied to construct normalised indices. Demographic predictors include gender, age, family composition, residence; sociological predictors contain education, labour market position, income and wealth as well as questions on health and religiosity.

Hungary is an interesting case to study, given the well-known strong deficit in subjective well-being. The phenomenon is particularly motivating in the light of the official propaganda by the governing political forces on the country’s economic and social progress. Low level of subjective well-being is confirmed again, partly in international comparison, partly from the perspective of temporal change. Furthermore, detailed analysis of the data reveals that Hungarians seem to be markedly divided by age, residence and social status for higher or lower assessment of well-being. Regression models prove that material conditions have the strongest impact on subjective well-being, even if controlled for education and labour market position. The results on subjective-wellbeing raise questions for public policy in Hungary.


subjective well-being; public opinion research; multivariate analysis; Hungary

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