Women, by and large, are slightly happier than men.
But they are also more susceptible to depression: a fifth to a quarter of women experience depression at some point in their lives, compared with around a tenth of men.
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In 2008 France's president, Nicolas Sarkozy, asked two Nobel-prize-winning economists, Amartya Sen and Joseph Stiglitz, to come up with a broader measure of national contentedness than GDP.
Then last month, in a touchy-feely gesture not typical of Britain, David Cameron announced that the British government would start collecting figures on well-being.
They are trying to find the answer to the perennial question: what makes people happy?
Four main factors, it seems: gender, personality, external circumstances and age.
The hairdresser hoped the story would urge parents to take their children's mental health seriously."Don't just push your kids off and tell them to get over something they legitimately can't," she said.
The post sparked a flood of comments from people who have also experienced the debilitating effects of mental illness."I can honestly relate to this.
Neurotic people—those who are prone to guilt, anger and anxiety—tend to be unhappy.
This is more than a tautological observation about people's mood when asked about their feelings by pollsters or economists.
These ideas have penetrated the policy arena, starting in Bhutan, where the concept of Gross National Happiness shapes the planning process.
All new policies have to have a GNH assessment, similar to the environmental-impact assessment common in other countries.
More educated people are happier, but that effect disappears once income is controlled for.