Happiness during COVID-19: Dutch population less happy, especially parents and people with income insecurity

Rotterdam, April 8th 2020 – With a decrease from 7.5 to 6.3, the Dutch population indicates to feel less happy during the COVID-19 crisis. The decline in happiness is largest for individuals with children living at home, or for individuals with an uncertain income.

These are some of the results from a survey conducted by the Erasmus Happiness Economics Research Organisation (EHERO), the happiness institute from the Erasmus University Rotterdam, amongst 1000 inhabitants in The Netherlands.

Diminished happiness levels in The Netherlands

Happiness levels in The Netherlands from before the COVID-19 pandemic (end of February, 2020) and during the pandemic (end of March, beginning of April 2020) are notably different. The average happiness has, on a scale of 0 to 10, decreased by more than 1 point. Where the Dutch population before the pandemic gave a 7.5 for their own happiness, currently only a 6.3 is given.

Negative and positive emotions

The outbreak of the coronavirus brings about various negative emotions. People indicate to feel tensed, agitated, sad, anxious and/or lonely. However, not only negativity arises: many individuals equally indicate to experience positive emotions such as hope, appreciation, grit, alertness and energy.

Largest impact amongst parents and those with insecure income

The decline in happiness is greatest amongst people with children at home, and individuals with an uncertain income (i.e. self-employed and flex workers). The latter especially indicate to experience feelings of agitation and tension. Then, for parents, combining telework with home schooling is reported as the most significant challenge.

COVID-19 outbreak eminent 

Of the respondents, 71% indicate the COVID-19 pandemic to negatively affect their life. They  particularly reported impact on social relations, leisure time and financial security.

Tips & tricks: how do people cope with the COVID-19 outbreak?

Many respondents have already shared their coping strategies to deal with the COVID-19, as well as how they take care of their own mental and physical well-being. In the upcoming weeks, our research team will share weekly tips & tricks around specific themes (e.g. telework, healthy living, leisure time activities, social support) on www.ehero.nlOpens external.

Would you also like to share your coping strategy to inspire others? The following linkOpens external is available for that purpose until April 13th, 2020.

More information about the COVID-19 research

Additional information regarding the current research can be found at www.ehero.nlOpens external

Tables, graphs and statistics are available on request through Indy Wijngaards (wijngaards@ese.eur.nl).