Humans are social creatures. The frequency of our contact with others and the quality of our personal relationships are thus crucial determinants of our well-being.
Helping others can also make you happier. People who volunteer tend to be more satisfied with their lives than those who do not. Time spent volunteering also contributes to a healthy civil society. According to an OECD report - On average, people in Ireland spend 8 minutes per day in volunteering activities, one of the highest figures in the OECD where the average is 4 minutes per day.
Around 64% of people in Ireland reported having helped a stranger in the last month, much more than the OECD average of 49%. These high scores suggest there is a strong sense of community in Ireland.
A strong social network, or community, can provide emotional support during both good and bad times as well as provide access to jobs, services and other material opportunities. In Ireland, 95% of people believe that they know someone they could rely on in a time of need, one of the highest rates in the OECD where the average is 89%.
There is no difference between men and women. While gender has no impact on social network support, there is a clear relationship between the availability of social support on the one hand, and people’s education level, on the other. In Ireland, around 87% of people who have completed primary education report having someone to count on for help in times of need, compared to 97% for people who attained tertiary education.