While everyone has their own opinion, some universal things like the ones below might be considered as what makes people happy.
1. Family and friends
One of the things that make people happy is the company of family and friends. The emotional support these people give you is priceless.
You probably don't enjoy being smothered by your mother or your father, but attending family reunions or getting together for a barbecue once in a while pumps up your happiness level. Having people around you that you love, trust and care for makes you feel that you're not alone.
2. Giving back
Helping others, whether in small or big ways, uplifts a person's spirit like nothing else. Doing something for nothing might be completely opposite of what you have been taught, but acts of generosity always leaves you with a warm, fuzzy feeling.
Sharing your wealth or time with others puts you in the position to receive the same positive energy back from others. Besides, making a difference in somebody else's life has a way of coming back to you.
3. Meaningful work
A job with a corresponding high salary isn't always what makes people happy. In fact, these jobs often make people miserable (unless your heart is in what you do). Unfortunately, not everyone can afford to pursue their dream job. And not everyone finds meaning in their work.
You could try to compensate for this by volunteering at hospitals or environmental causes in your spare time. By finding meaning in what you do, you will feel fulfilled and have a sense of purpose.
It's impossible to become truly happy when you don't have even a small ounce of freedom in your life. Whether it's being able to express yourself creatively or being able to make a choice for yourself, personal freedom is important. Suppressing yourself only brings forth a lot of negative emotions and discontent.
Who doesn't want to succeed? People who have achieved personal or professional success in their life are more inclined to pursue other goals and try new experiences. They become more content with the direction their life is taking and are generally happier in the long run.
These are just some of what makes people happy. Not everything is about materialism. There's happiness to be found in even the simplest, intangible things.