Employment satisfaction, social security and children: three factors that affect happiness


 Happiness is a dependent variable that depends on various factors. This study identifies social security, employment satisfaction and children as the main factors that affect happiness. A survey conducted on citizens indicates that families with children tend to be happier than families without children. The study also showed that improved employment satisfaction and increased social security benefits and services lead to higher levels happiness. These influences of social security, children and employment satisfaction can be used by everyone to enhance his/her happiness.


Happiness is a kind of fuzzy concept of well-being which relates to one’s emotion and mental feeling in a positive and joyful way. Different rates and levels of happiness feeling may be established by people receiving new physical materials and life-satisfaction. According Michalos (1979), to find the living qualities enhancement of one’s life shall be the first step to maintain happiness. Life-satisfaction and attitude are also the upper concepts of what happiness is. When the evaluation of one’s life crystallizes into a stable view, we may say of happiness as an ‘attitude’ towards one’s life (Michalos, 1979).

In this research, I seek to support the proposition that employment satisfaction, social security and children are the three most important factors that lead to happiness. The purpose of the research is to discover the relationship between these three main factors and happiness, and to conclude how these concepts would affect happiness in different levels. Therefore, there will be a brief conclusion of these independent variables and the small connections between these factors and happiness.

Literature Review

Employment satisfaction

The effect of employment status change on attitudes toward self requires an understanding of the process by which an individual translates a change in his objective environment into a subjective judgment of self-worth. Whether this change in self-concept from “employed worker” to “unemployed” produces a positive or negative self-attitude depends on several cognitive factors. The change in the evaluation of self-concept is expressed as a change in generalized self-attitude.

Social Security

Social security is also an important independent variable that has a positive relationship with happiness. It is a component of Article 22 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that every member of the society has the right to social security. The main objective of social security systems is to improve the welfare, wellbeing and happiness of populations (Bradshaw, 2008). Social security has been considered as an important way of redistributing financial resources in the society, hence giving people the wellbeing and life satisfaction that lead to happiness among members of the society. Social security includes all action programs undertaken by the government to provide assistance to the population in order to enable them access resources and basic needs such as education, food and shelter.

Social security includes social insurance, services, and basic security. In terms of social insurance members of the society are provided with benefits and services after they make some contributions to the insurance program. The social insurance services and benefits provided include: retirement benefits, survivor benefits, unemployment insurance and disability insurance. Some of the services provided by the government or any other social security agencies include: medical care, financial support during sickness and unemployment, healthcare, and workplace safety. Basic security is provided for those who do not participate in specific insurance programs. It includes provision of clothing, money, food, medical care and housing to refugees.

The disadvantage with social security is that it increases the dependence of people on formal economy and assistance from the government for their livelihood. If it is well regulated and provided only to those who deserve, social security can become a good way of increasing happiness among members of a given society. The more the social security provided to vulnerable members of the society, the more they become happy. This shows that social responsibility has a positive relationship with happiness.


Children are also one of the factors that influence happiness. Having children makes people happy. Powdthavee (2009) claims that most people would need to spend most of their money on their children. However, most people still decide to have children without any reason. They would still be comfortable with having children, and they feel happy that they have their own children around them.

From the literature review above, there are three variables associated with individual’s happiness exponent, which include employment satisfaction, social security and children. Easterlin (2011) explains how job satisfaction may influence one’s feeling of happiness and even includes those without a job. Argyle (1999) states the relationship between levels of social security and different level of happiness. Powdthavee (2009) also tells that though there is no actual data that may prove the happiness rate of having children; most families still decide to have children because it most likely influences one’s family’s level of happiness. When these three factors are considered, a few hypotheses can be identified in order to guide the current study.


The first hypothesis is that different levels of employment satisfaction will produce different attitudes toward life and happiness because employment status changes Self-Attitudes (Cohn, 1978). Employment is a variable which influences the level of happiness among individuals. When someone is employed, he/she develops good attitude and becomes happy. However, when he is not employed, he develops a negative attitude and becomes unhappy.

The second hypothesis proposes that different levels of social security results in different levels of happiness, especially among vulnerable members of the society. If social security is increased by a given government or social agency, vulnerable or disadvantaged members of the society become happier. In other words, the level of happiness among members of the society increases with the level of social security provided in the community.

The third hypothesis suggests that families with children are happier than parents without children. Powdthavee (2009) suggests that there is no research showing that families with children are happier than families without children. However, we can pick families without children and compare them with those families with children to investigate which set of families would be happier.

The fourth hypothesis is a general; hypothesis which combines all the three variables and determines their relationships with happiness. This hypothesis suggests that happiness increases with an increase in social security, increased employment satisfaction and availability of children in the family.



This research involved researchers from the University’s business school. It conducted survey on US citizens from various cities across United States. A total of 25 cities participated in the research. The sample of cities was selected randomly from the list of cities in United States Government website. The sample was also selected in proportion to the population of each city. A total of 5,800 citizens from those cities participated in the study. All the selected participants agreed to participate in the study. They included citizens with families and those without families. They also had different ages, but most of them were between 25-40 years.


The study included a survey which was administered on US citizens with families and those without families. The question used to measure the dependent variable, happiness, was about the attitude of the respondent towards his life. This was measured on a Richter scale of 1-6 where, 6 is the maximum score indicating highest level of happiness and 1 is the lowest score which represents the lowest level of happiness. If the respondent ticks 1 against the question, “What is your attitude towards life”, then he has the lowest level of happiness. On the other hand, if the respondent ticked 6, then he/she has the highest level of happiness. The survey also asked questions related to the independent variables such as: do you have a family? Are you employed? Are you satisfied with your job? Do you receive social security benefits and services? The respondents were required to answer the questions with Yes or No.


The SPSS software was used to analyze the data obtained from the survey. In the analysis, a frequency table was given to represent each variable. Furthermore, the frequency table function was used to represent employment satisfaction, social security and children. The data were also represented in a line graph to illustrate the relationship between the three independent variables with the dependent variable. The results were also represented on a Chi-Square in order to determine the relationship between the three independent variables and level of happiness among the respondents.


From the frequency table established, 5,800 respondents were included. The results indicated that 10 people (0.17%) chose score 1 as their level of attitude towards life. Among these individuals, 8 did not have a job and 2 had jobs but they were not satisfied with their employment. 534 respondents (9.2%) chose score 2, 876 (15.1%) chose score 3, 1,376 (23.7%) chose 4, 1,582 (27.2%) chose score 4, 1,164 (20%) chose score 5 and 258 (4.4%) chose score 6. Among those who chose scores above 4, 68% were employed and satisfied with their employment, 78% had children, and 56% benefited from social security. Among the total 5,800 respondents, 75% of them had children, 66% benefited from social security and 73% were employed. A significance level of 0.05 was set for the Chi-Square. Furthermore, 45% of all the respondents also answered “Yes” in all their questions. Among them, 95% indicated high levels of happiness.

The first hypothesis suggests that employment increases the level of attitude of a person towards life; hence increasing their levels of happiness. From the results, 83% of those who are employed responded with a score of more than 4. This indicates that most of them are happy.

The second hypothesis suggests that increased social security leads to higher levels of happiness. The results of the study indicate that 56% of those who were happy benefited from social security. Furthermore, 58% of those who received social security were happy. This shows the same perspective that increased social security leads to higher levels of happiness.

The third hypothesis suggests that families with children are happier than parents without children. 75% of the total respondents had children, and among them 85% of them were happy. This also shows that families with children are happy.


Happiness is feelings that people develop as a result of certain factors that enable them to develop positive attitudes towards their lives. This research intended to determine whether social security, children and employment satisfaction make people to be happy. In order to achieve this, the study developed three hypotheses which suggest that high levels social security, employment satisfaction and children lead to increased happiness. These hypotheses were tested by asking respondents some questions. The results were then recorded and the results analysed using SPSS and Chi-Square. From the analysis, the hypotheses were proved.

The first hypothesis indicates that increase in employment satisfaction leads to higher levels of happiness. This has been established as correct by the primary research and literature review. Toronto Training and HR (2013) suggest that job satisfaction is enhanced by job security, compensation and relationship with immediate senior manager. If these aspects are provided for employees, they develop positive attitudes towards their lives. As a result, the employees become happy. The results from the primary research also indicate the same trend. The frequency table and Chi-Square analysis indicates that most of the respondents who were satisfied with their employment show high levels of happiness.

The second hypothesis suggests that increased social security leads to higher levels of happiness. Bradshaw (2008) argues that Social security is an important way of redistributing financial resources in the society, hence giving people the wellbeing and life satisfaction that lead to happiness among members of the society. Although results of the study do not show a strong relationship between social security and levels of happiness, it is clear that most of the people who benefited from social security also had positive attitudes towards their lives; hence they were happier than those who did not benefit from social security services.

The third hypothesis also proposes a positive relationship between happiness and the availability of children in families. Powdthavee (2009) suggests that most families are happy to have children. He considers that most people do not even know the reasons why they are happy for having children, but they just feel comfortable being with them. This is confirmed by the results of the primary study which indicates that 855 of the respondents who had children were happy. Therefore, having children increases someone’s happiness. This proves the hypothesis that families with children are happier than families without children.

In general, the three hypotheses can be summed up in one hypothesis – that availability of children, improved employment satisfaction and increased social security leads to higher levels of happiness. Measured in terms of one’s attitude towards life, happiness has been established by the study to be highly dependent on the three factors – children, employment satisfaction and social security (Michalos, 1979). Although it is not always the case that these three factors can be achieved at the same time, they all lead to happiness. A family with employed, children and social security are happier than parents with only one, two or none of these factors. This is shown by the results of the study which show that most of people who answered Yes in all the questions indicated higher scores of positive attitude towards life. This shows that most of the people who have high levels of the three factors experience higher levels of happiness.

There are various limitations that may hinder the accuracy of the study. First, there are various errors in the study that may lead to inaccuracies. For instance, the data of people with children and people without children may have errors because the number of people with children is not equal to the number of people without children. Furthermore, the answers provided by the respondents cannot be considered as completely accurate. For example, employees may not be able to quantify their attitude towards life. Therefore, it is difficult to determine the level of happiness of the respondents.

This research is important in future studies because it sets the pace for other researchers who attempt to establish the factors affecting happiness. Future researchers can improve the current research by including other independent various that may affect happiness. The research can also be used by all members of the society to determine the factors that affect their happiness in life. They will understand what they need to achieve in order to be happy. This paper suggests that people should pursue employment, have children and seek social security in order to be live happy lives.



Michalos, AC. (1979). ‘Satisfaction and Happiness’, 1, 1-38.

Argyle, M. (1999) ‘Causes and Correlates of Happiness’. Well-being: The Foundations of Hedonic Psychology, 152.4’2-dc21

Bradshaw, J. (ed.) (2008). Social Security, Happiness and Well-being. International Studies on Social Security, 14, Intersentia, Antwerp.

Easterlin, R.E. (2011). Income and Happiness: Toward a Unified Theory. The Economic Journal, 111 (July), 465-484

Michalos, AC. (1979). Satisfaction and Happiness, 1, 1-38.

Powdthavee, N. (2009). Think having children will make you happy.

Toronto Training and HR (2013). Happy and satisfied at work – are you kidding? Accessed December 5, 2013 from http://www.slideshare.net/chepkonga1/savedfiles?s_title=happiness-and-job-satisfaction-june-2013&user_login=TimHolden.

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