An area of considerable debate amongst social scientists and the wider public is the nature of the relationship between an individual’s level of material wealth and that person’s perceived “happiness” or well being. In discussion and research on this topic, the term subjective well-being (SWB) has become widely used and encompasses a number of measures or meanings. This paper provides a comprehensive review of the theoretical and empirical literature in this area. Several key drivers of SWB are identified and discussed in the context of the Middle East and North African (MENA) region using data from survey data collected by the World Values Survey (WVS) from 1981–2007. A comparison is made of approaches to measuring “development” or “human progress” employing aggregate objective measures as opposed to individual survey responses.