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Slight increase in satisfaction with life in Germany in 2023

The “SKL Glücksatlas 2023” produced under the academic guidance of Freiburg researcher Prof. Dr. Bernd Raffelhüschen has been released

Freiburg, Nov 08, 2023

The “SKL Glücksatlas 2023” [SKL Happiness Atlas 2023] was released on 9 November 2023. Prof. Dr. Bernd Raffelhüschen, Professor of Finance at the University of Freiburg oversaw the study. The data comes from a range of socially-representative surveys: the Allensbach Institute asked participants about their general satisfaction with life and with specific aspects of their lives, i.e. work, income, family and health. The Berlin polling institute Ipsos carried out a survey on the differences between the former East and West Germany, various emotional indicators, anxieties, and the influence of housing costs on satisfaction with life. General satisfaction with life rose slightly in comparison to the previous year, but was still lower than in 2019. Adolescents and young adults in particular are farther from the age-specific level pre-Covid than older age groups. They also increasingly report feelings of anxiety. The differences between the former East and West of Germany have increased compared to previous studies. Comparing the federal states, the satisfaction is highest in Schleswig-Holstein, lowest in the Saarland and in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

Slight increase in nationwide level of happiness

The nationwide level of happiness rose in 2023 to 6.92 points. That is a slight increase of 0.06 points compared to the previous year (6.86 points). In comparison to the nadir in 2021, 6.58 points, the total difference is 0.34 points. However, this year’s value of 6.92 points is still 0.22 points below the 2019 pre-Covid level of 7.14 points. “The recovery from the reduction in happiness over the period of the pandemic is sluggish. The modest increase in happiness shows that certain adverse effects from the pandemic are still having an effect and that new crisis factors are dampening the recovery process,” says Raffelhüschen.

Two-thirds of the population currently view the future with optimism. At the same time, the proportion of people who say that they are feeling a greater pressure than during the Covid pandemic is 23.2 percent. On the other hand, 31.8 percent state that they feel less pressured today. And 45 percent feel there is no difference in pressure compared to the period of the pandemic.

Increasing anxiety among young people

“The after-effects of the period of the pandemic can be most clearly shown among young people,” states Raffelhüschen. Young people display an increase in diffuse anxieties, whether about the lack of financial security, of peace, of health or of the effects of climate change. In 2019, 7.6 percent of 18 to 29 year olds reported having feelings of anxiety frequently or very frequently, but now in 2023 it is 16.4 percent. In addition, the satisfaction with life of 16 to 29 year olds has fallen further than other generations when comparing 2023 with 2019. This is 0.33 points lower in 2023 among adolescents and young adults than in 2019 (2023: 7.33 points, 2019: 7.66 points). Among those aged over 60 the difference is just 0.20 points (2023: 6.79 points, 2019: 6.99 points).

Income satisfaction has improved, after falling drastically in recent years. Income satisfaction fell from a peak of 7.18 points in 2019 to just 6.49 points in 2022. At present however there is a slight recovery to 6.64 points. Raffelhüschen: “Although inflation continues to be high, people in Germany are more satisfied with their income once again. This indicates a habituation effect.”

Ranking federal states by happiness levels

Satisfaction with life increased more strongly in the former East German federal states than in the West German ones, with the result that the gap between the West (6.96 points) and the East (6.76 points) has now shrunk to 0.20 points. In 2023 as in the previous year, first place in the happiness ranking of the federal states was taken by Schleswig-Holstein with 7.21 points. Hamburg (7.11 points, up from 4th place), Bavaria (7.09 points, down from 2nd place) and Hesse (7.06 points, up from 6th) follow. In 5th place is North Rhine-Westphalia (7.0 points, down from 3rd), then in 6th place Saxony-Anhalt (6.95 points, up from 9th), in 7th place Saxony (6.92 points, up from 10th) and 8th place Baden-Württemberg (6.88 points, same as last time). Bremen takes 9th place (6.84 points, up from 12th), Lower Saxony 10th place (6.83 points, down from 7th), and Thüringia 11th place (6.83 points, up from 13th). Then in 12th place is Rhineland-Palatinate (6.79 points, down from 11th) and Brandenburg in 13th place (6.79 points, down from 5th). As in the previous year, Berlin (6.62 points), Saarland (6.21 points) and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (6.19 points) remain in places 14, 15 and 16. The gap between the happiest (Schleswig-Holstein) and unhappiest federal state (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania) has risen to 1.02 points in 2023. In 2019 it was just 0.68 points.

The "SKL Happiness Atlas"

The “SKL Glücksatlas” is a regular study into satisfaction with life in Germany. Since the start of 2022, the South German Class Lottery (Süddeutsche Klassenlotterie, SKL) has been a Happiness Atlas partner; until 2021 it was published by Deutsche Post. Current data, analyses and special studies into satisfaction with life in Germany are regularly offered at

Data base:

The data for the SKL Happiness Atlas 2023 comes from a total of eleven monthly surveys that took place between August 2022 and June 2023 with a total of 11,425 statistically selected respondents aged 16 and over in the form of oral/face-to-face interviews by the Allensbach Institute into general satisfaction with life in Germany. Satisfaction with aspects of life, i.e. work, income, family and health, was studied by the Allensbach Institute between February and April 2023 conducting oral/face-to-face interviews with 3,109 statistically selected citizens aged 16 and over. In addition, the Berlin polling institute Ipsos surveyed a total of 2,000 statistically selected Germans aged between 18 and 65 (computer-based online survey) about differences between East Germany and West Germany, various emotional indicators, anxieties and the influence of housing costs on satisfaction with life.

For more information about the Happiness Atlas see


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