Ah, never mind, population happiness *is* affected by QOL, but only *Zone* QOL (and compared to *Zone* Civ score, and those will eventually even out), but Population doesn't (directly ?) care about Regime's average Civilization Score and/or Civilization Level ?
The manual says :
18.104.22.168. reGular and unInCorPorated zones
You’ll start the game with only Regular Zones, but conquest will give you an
An Unincorporated Zone has a certain level of independence and it is not
fully integrated with your other Zones.
Unincorporated Zones have the following different rules:
§ You still receive Service Tax from the Zone.
§ You do not receive Private Asset Tax from Private Assets. Private
Assets thus do not provide you with any Items.
§ The Zone Stats do not impact your Regime Stats, like your Popularity
or Culture Level.
§ No Sales or Income Tax will be imposed.
§ Regime casualties have no impact on the Population Happiness and
§ No Recruitment of Colonists or Recruits is possible, but you can still
§ No Cultural Adjustment will take place.
§ Unincorporated Zones have double the Happiness growth up to 75
points, compared to Regular Zones.
You can order an Unincorporated Zone to become a Regular Zone at any
moment you like. Just call your Governor to discuss Zone Orders.
In general, it is a good idea to leave a conquered Zone Unincorporated for a
while, either to get Population Happiness restored as quickly as possible or
to ensure you keep benefiting from the option to use their possibly unique
P.S.: Maybe the manual is outdated/wrong on this last § ?
P.P.S.: Also, is that double happiness growth only for Population, or maybe also for Workers too ?
I think unincorporated zones have a certain loyalty growth. Loyalty drags up happiness if it is higher, but takes damage doing so.
Loyalty is dragged up by Happiness in return.