How To Increase Happiness in Civ 5

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To increase your civilization’s happiness, you want to acquire sources of happiness and reduce causes of unhappiness. We’ll cover all of your best options below with details on each source & how you should handle them in-game:

A Breakdown of Happiness Calculations in the Economic Overview / Civ 5
A Breakdown of Happiness Calculations in the Economic Overview

Types of Happiness

Happiness comes in two types: Global and Local.

  • Global happiness always applies to your entire civ. It doesn’t have any restrictions.
  • Local happiness is generated by your cities, which mostly comes from their buildings. Each city’s contribution is restricted by their population.

This means that even if they produce a lot of happiness, the actual amount that reaches you can’t be higher than the city’s population (pop) size.


Sources of Happiness


1. Difficulty Setting

You start with a fixed amount of happiness depending on your difficulty:

Difficulty Starting Happiness
Settler 15
Chieftain 12
Warlord 12
Prince 9
King 9
Emperor 9
Immortal 9
Deity 9

For Settler and Chieftain, they gain an additional 1 happiness per luxury.


2. Luxuries

Each unique luxury provides 4 global happiness. You only need one supply of the resource.

Surplus luxuries can be traded to other nations for other luxuries and/or gold.

Allied city-states provide one luxury. Mercantile city-states give you two luxuries, one of which is available only to them.


3. Happiness Buildings

These buildings produce local happiness in their cities:

Building Happiness Tech and Era Requirements
Circus 2 Trapping
(Ancient Era)
The city needs horses or ivory within its influence.
Stone Works 1 Calendar
(Ancient Era)
The city needs stone or marble within its influence.

The city must not be on a plain.

Colosseum 2 Construction
(Classical Era)
Zoo 2 Printing Press
(Renaissance Era)
The city must have a colosseum.

Happiness from zoos can’t exceed its city’s population.

Stadium 2 Refrigeration
(Modern Era)
The city must have a zoo.

Happiness from stadiums can’t exceed its city’s population.


4. World and National Wonders

Wonders can either provide global happiness or local happiness depending on their effect.

Wonder Requirements Happiness Effect
Circus Maximus Construction (Classical Tech)

Must have built colosseums in all your cities

5 global happiness
Chichen Itza Civil Service (Medieval Tech) 4 global happiness
Notre Dame Physics (Medieval Tech) 10 global happiness
Taj Mahal Architecture (Renaissance Tech) 4 global happiness
Forbidden Palace Banking (Renaissance Tech)

Patronage (Social Policy Tree)

10% reduction of unhappiness caused by pop size of cities
Eiffel Tower Radio (Modern Tech) 5 global happiness
Neuschwanstein Railroad (Modern Tech)

Must be built within 2 tiles of a mountain inside your territory

1 global happiness per castle
Prora Flight (Modern Tech)

Autocracy (Ideology)

Must be built on a coastal city

2 global happiness

1 global happiness for every 2 social policies unlocked

CN Tower Telecommunications (Information Tech) 1 global happiness per city

5. Natural Wonders

You get 1 global happiness for every Natural Wonder discovered. This is a permanent boost.

Some Natural Wonders also provide local happiness if they’re worked by a citizen in a city.

Wonder Happiness
Fountain of Youth 10
Old Faithful 3
Mt. Kailash 2
Sri Pada 2

6. Social Policies

Almost every social policy tree has one policy that affects happiness.

Social Policy Tree Social Policy Happiness Effect
Tradition Aristocracy 1 global happiness for every 10 citizens in a city
Liberty Meritocracy 1 global happiness per city connected to the capital

5% reduction of unhappiness caused by pop size of cities

Honor Military Caste 1 local happiness for every garrisoned city
Patronage Cultural Diplomacy 50% additional global happiness gained from luxuries gifted by city-states
Commerce Protectionism 1 additional global happiness from each luxury

7. Ideologies

All three ideologies have tenets which generate happiness.

Ideology Tenet and Level Happiness Effect
Freedom Capitalism (Level 1) 1 local happiness per mint, bank, and stock exchange
Freedom Universal Healthcare (Level 1) 1 local happiness per national wonder
Freedom Urbanization (Level 2) 1 local happiness per water mill, hospital, and medical lab
Freedom Universal Suffrage (Level 2) Halves unhappiness created by specialist pops
Order Socialist Realism (Level 1) 2 local happiness per monument
Order Young Pioneers (Level 1) 1 local happiness per workshop, factory, and power plant (solar, nuclear, or hydro)
Order Universal Healthcare (Level 1) 1 local happiness per national wonder
Order Academy of Sciences (Level 2) 1 local happiness per observatory, public school, and research lab
Autocracy Fortified Borders (Level 1) 1 local happiness per castle, arsenal, and military base
Autocracy Universal Healthcare (Level 1) 1 local happiness per national wonder
Autocracy Militarism (Level 2) 2 local happiness per barracks, armory, and military academy
Autocracy Police State (Level 2) 3 local happiness per courthouse

Causes of Unhappiness


1. Number of Cities

Each city starting with your first creates unhappiness. The amount scales with your map size:

Map Size Unhappiness per City
Duel 3
Tiny 3
Small 3
Standard 3
Large 2.4
Huge 1.8

2. Annexed or Razed Cities

Occupied cities have higher unhappiness than normal cities depending on your map size:

Map Size Unhappiness per Occupied City
Duel 5
Tiny 5
Small 5
Standard 5
Large 4
Huge 3

This increased unhappiness can be normalized by building courthouses.

In cities being razed, their unhappiness decreases every turn until they’re completely demolished.


3. Population Size of Cities

Every pop (citizen or specialist) generates 1 unhappiness in cities that you own or have puppetted.

For occupied cities, they create 1.34 unhappiness instead.


4. Influence from Opposing Ideologies

When ideologies come into play, your civ’s happiness will start getting affected by other civs of opposing ideologies.

Your outgoing influence (based on your tourism stat) will be compared to the incoming influence from other civs with different ideologies. Whoever has the higher influence burdens the other with ideological pressure.

This pressure gets stronger as the gap between your influences gets larger.

Ideological pressure causes discontent in your civ. It affects the public opinion on your chosen ideology.

As your public opinion decreases, it eventually creates unhappiness. This gets more severe the lower your public opinion drops.

The best way to counter this is to increase your culture output. Culture acts as your shield against influence. By reinforcing your culture, you’re preventing ideological pressure from attacking your public opinion.

Public Opinion and Unhappiness in the Culture Overview / Civ 5
Public Opinion and Unhappiness in the Culture Overview
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Louie Nelson Zafico

As a frustrated otter who dreams of getting published, Louie instead wastes his life cuddling his cats. He spent his childhood playing Suikoden, grew up with Total War, and matured (somewhat) with EU4. He hopes to someday find a geopolitical JRPG with the 4X systems of a Paradox game.