One question, “Using a scale of 0 to 10 where 0 means “Very dissatisfied” and 10 means “Very satisfied”, how do you feel about your life as a whole right now?”
This indicator is recommended by the Government of Canada as part of its Positive Mental Health Surveillance Indicator Framework, “which provides information on positive mental health outcomes and its associated risk and protective factors. Positive mental health is a state of well-being that allows us to feel, think, and act in ways that enhance our ability to enjoy life and deal with the challenges we face.” It uses questions from the Canadian Community Health Survey, which can also be used in individual data collection, and is available in French and English.
While this question is a good measure of one type of well-being – how someone judges the quality of their life – it does not capture moment-by-moment happiness which is a rather different concept. It also can de-emphasize goals of social justice and equity if used as a standalone measure.
Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention. Positive Mental Health Surveillance Indicator Framework: 2016 Edition. Ottawa (ON): Public Health Agency of Canada; 2016. Accessed on August 16, 2017. http://infobase.phac-aspc.gc.ca/positive-mental-health/
Method of measurement
Question can be asked in phone interview or paper/online survey. Results can be reported as Life satisfaction, adults, mean score, or Satisfaction with life overall, percentage of “very satisfied”.