Giles Atkinson and Susana Mourato
George MacKerron and Susana Mourato
The authors investigate the relationship between momentary happiness and an individual’s immediate environment within the United Kingdom, building on their earlier work in this area. Using a smartphone app, they collected millions of geolocated self-reports of happiness from tens of thousands of participants. Joining response locations with other spatial data sets, they estimate a fixed effects model relating land cover types to happiness, using only within-individual variation, and controlling for daylight, weather, companionship, activity, type of location, time, day, and a response trend. Study participants are significantly happier outdoors in any green or natural habitat type than they are in urban environments. Of the natural habitats, coastal environments are ranked top. Notwithstanding limitations of the sample and of the scope for causal interpretation, this study contributes to a promising line of evidence on the links between nature and wellbeing.