The rural happiness paradox in developed countries

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Abstract

In this paper, a national Danish survey is used to explore the rural happiness paradox in developed countries. This paradox revolves around the observation that rural residents tend to report higher subjective well-being than urban residents in developed countries. Based on three different rural-urban classifications, the paper provides a solid confirmation of the rural happiness paradox in Denmark. The paper tests three hypotheses regarding the factors behind the rural happiness paradox and finds strong support for two of the hypotheses. Thus, higher bonding social capital in rural areas and higher access to nature amenities in rural areas were found to contribute to the rural happiness paradox in Denmark. As for the third hypothesis, the paper finds no significant evidence that rural-urban differences in spatial location satisfaction (measured by the correspondence between actual and preferred residential location on the rural-urban continuum) contribute to the rural happiness paradox in Denmark.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102581
JournalSocial Science Research
Volume98
ISSN0049-089X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021

Keywords

  • Denmark
  • Nature amenities
  • Rural happiness paradox
  • Social capital
  • Spatial location satisfaction

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