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Foreign foray may not guarantee ‘happiness’

Before flying off to your foreign dreamland for a ‘happier’ future, give it a second thought. A new research suggests those who move to richer nations are unlikely to find greater economic prosperity — or greater happiness — in their adopted countries. Vanita Srivastava reports.

delhi Updated: Jul 31, 2013 00:57 IST
Vanita Srivastava

Before flying off to your foreign dreamland for a ‘happier’ future, give it a second thought. A new research suggests those who move to richer nations are unlikely to find greater economic prosperity — or greater happiness — in their adopted countries.

“One might expect economic migrants to experience an increase in happiness after migration: life in wealthier countries might be better, particularly for migrants who succeed in improving their financial situation. In general, people do not gain happiness from an increase in their incomes, and migration as a means of gaining an increased income might not amount to an exception to that general pattern," David Bartram from University of Leicester says in the latest issue of the international journal Migration Studies.

A major finding of the study says, as long as one is above a certain threshold, gaining an increase in income does not generally lead to greater happiness.

That finding can be read to imply that migration as a specific means of gaining an increased income might not lead the migrants to become happier.

Extrapolating the study to India David told HT: “Many Indians have high-level qualifications that enable them to achieve good positions in western countries. But when those qualifications are lacking, a lower-level job might bring some economic improvement but not greater happiness .”

The analysis, he said was done on Eastern European migrants."The idea motivating the analysis has to do with movement from a poorer to a wealthier country -- so when Indians move to a wealthier country perhaps the findings would be the same as for Eastern Europeans moving to Western Europe."