Well-being continues to increase with income according to data gathered in a recent journal article by Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers of the University of Michigan.
This contrasts with assertions that increases to well-being diminish as incomes pass above a level at which basic needs are met.
The table below provides clear evidence that well-being continues to increase significantly as incomes increase, far above levels at which basic needs are met:
However, the more salient matter for well-being is not income levels per se, but income security.
It is income security - that is income which is not lost due to loss of work or other misadventure - that enables people to choose how they contribute and work, so increasing individual well-being.
Without guaranteed income security, the motivation is to attain very high incomes, as at very high incomes wealth can be built, and only wealth can provide life-long income security when it is not guaranteed.
We can see from the chart that at incomes of over $500,000 per annum, people are 100% very happy and very satisfied. Not all of this well-being is due to high-earners being able to build a pool of wealth that delivers them the income security to choose how they contribute and work, but a substantial proportion is.
If we were to create a guaranteed level of income security for all people, then we could expect that the happiness and satisfaction of those earning less would very greatly increase.
Society still doesn't have the level of shared understanding and empathy required to introduce something like a shared base income. But when it does, and the internet is continuing to expand and build these levels, then we may see happiness and satisfaction distributed in a much more even and fair way.