NEW YORK, NY (June 2, 2014) – Americans are turning to family and faith and place less importance on work to find happiness, according to a new global poll conducted by Reader’s Digest, one of the most read brands in the world. The survey asked readers around the world to rank the most important factor to their happiness: community, family, faith or work. Compared to other countries, Americans ranked among the lowest in the importance of work to their happiness and ranked the highest in regards to the importance faith has on their happiness.

More than 6,800 readers in 10 countries participated in the survey, with results available online today at for U.S. readers and in the June issue of the magazine’s international editions. The Reader’s Digest global happiness poll was conducted online in the United States, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russia and Slovenia.

In every country, on average, family was seen as the most important component for happiness. In fact, it was ranked number one by almost three-quarters of respondents (71 percent). Faith came in a distant number two (16 percent) across all countries, except in Brazil and the United States, where about a third of respondents in each country named it as top priority (26 percent and 33 percent, respectively). Work ranked number three (7 percent) and community took the last spot in the survey (2 percent).

“The poll reinforces the idea that success in the workplace doesn’t always equate to happiness. The connection of success in work to a happy life seems to have been left by the wayside and replaced by family and faith,” says Raimo Moysa, editor-in-chief of Reader’s Digest International Magazines.

In the U.S., 63 percent of respondents reported that family was most important to their happiness, 32 percent believed faith was most important, while only 3 percent responded work and 2 percent said community.

Significant results of the poll include the following:

  • Family: Family ranked the highest universally, starting at 61 percent (Poland and Romania) and reaching as high as 83 percent (Hungary). Results about family were the same regardless of gender, age and marital status, showing that having a family didn’t make respondents more or less happy if they were old or young, male or female, single or married.
  • Faith: The U.S. ranked faith as the highest of all the countries in importance to happiness and Brazil came in second at 26 percent.
  • Work: The U.S. and Hungary tied for the lowest percentage of respondents who said that work was most important to their personal happiness (3 percent). Respondents in Poland and Romania tied for the highest percentage of people – 12 percent – who ranked work as the most important factor.
  • Community: Brazilian respondents ranked community as the least important factor in their happiness, at 1 percent, closely followed by the U.S., while Germany, Poland and Romania ranked it the highest of the countries polled, at 9 percent.

Survey participants answered the question, “Which of the following are most important to your personal happiness?,” regarding community, family, faith and work and ranked “1” as the most important through “4” as the least important to their personal happiness. In addition, participants were asked for their gender, age and marital status. The poll was conducted Feb. 10-21, 2014, with a follow-up conducted in March through early May.

To see all results from the poll, please visit

To read the Reader’s Digest story, please visit

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Sabrina Strauss

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