8.08.2006

Denmark - Home to the World's Happiest People

A day or two ago I was looking around at blogs from Denmark. This was stirred up inside me because of a few things:

First - I was having an email conversation with Reach Upward, and I found out that he was a missionary in Norway, and I was a missionary (!) in Denmark. (Well, I already KNEW I had been a missionary in Denmark, but I DIDN'T know Reach had been a missionary in Norway...)

Second - I have a kid hitting the MTC tomorrow, bound for FIJI/New Calendonia. This has been a source of a little bit of introspection for me about the time I spent in my family's homeland - I was also able to visit some of the towns that pertain to my family's history.

Third - I was looking at my Google Analytics page and noticed no traffic from Scandinavia, so I thought I'd take a look at what it is out there for blogs in Denmark.

Anyway, if you live in Denmark, count yourself as highly fortunate - it has the highest satisfaction with life rating of any country in the world, according to research data from Adrian White, analytic social psychologist at the University of Leicester in England.

White has published the World Map of Happiness, an interactive map that illustrates interational differences of happiness among the people of 177 countries. The map is based on an analysis of results from over 100 studies.

The concept of happiness, or satisfaction with life (SWL), is currently a major area of research in economics and psychology, White says, most closely associated with new developments in positive psychology. Says White:

There is a belief that capitalism leads to unhappy people. However, when people are asked if they are happy with their lives, people in countries with good healthcare, a higher GDP per capita, and access to education were much more likely to report being happy.

According to White’s data, the top 10 countries in the world with the highest SWL rankings are:

  1. Denmark
  2. Switzerland
  3. Austria
  4. Iceland
  5. Bahamas
  6. Finland
  7. Sweden
  8. Bhutan
  9. Brunei Darussalam
  10. Canada

Four of the ten are Nordic countries (counting Iceland as Nordic). Six are in Europe. The Netherlands scores 15. Better than the USA at 23, Australia at 26, the UK at 41 or France at 62.

Countries at the bottom of the happiness table hold few surprises. Bottom of everyone, at 177, is Zimbabwe. Sudan is 173. Russia is at 167. Lebanon is 113 although in light of current events, I wonder what the number would be today.

I'm thinking about moving....

3 comments:

for what it's worth said...

I am packing too! Despite Canada being in 10 position, I am sure I could be happier in the Bahamas. Just a thought???

Reach Upward said...

Scandinavia has some wonderful features. I have kept up on my Norwegian language, although, I haven't visited the country for more than two decades. I also have Danish ancestry as well as Norwegian. I note that Norway didn't make the top 10 list. Perhaps there's some truth to the old stereotype Scandinavians have about dour, austere, rustic Norwegians.

The SWL measure is largely dependent on one's expectations as well as one's life situation. If you have low expectations, you can measure as happy while having a crappy life by others' standards. But if your expectations are high, you can have a pretty great life and yet measure as unhappy.

I wonder if the study surveyed any *women* in Bhutan, Brunei, or Darussalam (or was it just men). After lving and working in some of these countries, my in-laws don't have much good to say about how happy the women are. Perhaps these women's expectations are so low that they are satisfied with being treated like human cattle.

CVF said...

It has to be the happiest place on earth if you hold the International Clown Festival there.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/
multimedia/photo_gallery/0608/
missedit.0811/content.4.html

Is that guy "a little light on his feet?" [LOL]