Americans view happiness completely different than their European counter-parts. Americans believe happiness to be an obtainable object (pursuit of happiness). Americans strive and go at great lengths to obtain happiness.
Other people see happiness as a by-product of hard work, or just life in general. Frankl (Psycho-analysist) agrees that Europeans (his elk of Nazi holocaust survivors) find happiness through methods that include self-sacrifice and pain.
i think happiness, as the result on a survey question, comes from whether or not the subject considers himself/herself as "satisfactory" to the ideals of society.