Based on data from the OECD Better Life Index, homeownership in the U.S. can lead to higher levels of subjective well-being. Translation: homeownership is linked to happiness.
The Better Life Index gauges worldwide development, zeroing in on quality of life indicators that affect global progress – housing, jobs, civic engagement, health and safety, to name a few. The objective? To answer to the age-old question: How’s life?
At face value, this assessment is dead-on – most agents can attest to smiling faces when first-time buyers become homeowners – but that heightened sense of well-being may be more closely tied to our basic need for shelter, according to Aida Caldera Sánchez and Caroline Tassot, authors of a recent Index analysis. And, when viewed through American Dream-colored glasses, homeownership lends itself to status and independence, qualities that resonate with those seeking to better their lives.
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In addition, the Index measures well-being indicators on a regional scale. Housing performs better than all other indicators in 75 percent of states in the Midwest. In the South, housing tops all other indicators in 70.6 percent of states in the region. In the West, housing in just 15 percent of states outperforms other indicators like environment and education. Income trumps housing in 55.5 percent of states in the Northeast – and it is also the dominant indicator in states home to major metropolitan areas, including New York, Illinois, Texas and California.
To compare the performance of housing and other well-being indicators in your state, visit the OECD Better Life Regional Well-Being Map here.
To learn more about housing, well-being and progress, visit OECDBetterLifeIndex.org.
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