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There's a Remarkably Strong Link Between Community Service and Happiness

A new study shows a big difference between those who serve their communities and those who don't. 
A volunteer fills a box with food at the Bread for the City food pantry in Washington, D.C.
A volunteer fills a box with food at the Bread for the City food pantry in Washington, D.C.REUTERS/Jim Young

People who volunteer to serve their communities are significantly happier than those who do not, according to a Gallup analysis released this week.

The study compared the average self-reported well-being scores of people who said that they had received recognition for community service to those who said they had not. Gallup found that those who said they received recognition for their service had an average Well-Being Index score of 70.0 out of 100. Those who did not had an average score of 58.5. This relationship between happiness and community service held even when Gallup controlled for the effects of income and age, two factors that have been found to be closely related to higher levels of community well-being.