Adrian White . . . analysed data published by UNESCO, the CIA, the New Economics Foundation, the WHO, the Veenhoven Database, the Latinbarometer, the Afrobarometer, and the UNHDR, to create a global projection of subjective well-being: the first world map of happiness. . . . The meta-analysis is based on the findings of over 100 different studies around the world, which questioned 80,000 people worldwide. . . . It is worth remembering that the UK is doing relatively well in this area, coming 41st out of 178 nations. Further analysis showed that a nation’s level of happiness was most closely associated with health levels (correlation of .62), followed by wealth (.52), and then provision of education (.51). The three predictor variables of health, wealth and education were also very closely associated with each other, illustrating the interdependence of these factors. 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 captia, and access to education were much more likely to report being happy. We were surprised to see countries in Asia scoring so low, with China 82nd, Japan 90th and India 125th. These are countries that are thought as having a strong sense of collective identity which other researchers have associated with well-being. It is also notable that many of the largest countries in terms of population do quite badly. With China 82nd, India 125th and Russia 167th it is interesting to note that larger populations are not associated with happy countries.
My first thought upon reading this was amusement at the statement, “the UK is doing relatively well in this area, coming 41st out of 178 nations.” They’re so modest in the U.K.! Can you imagine someone in the U.S. being happy about being ranked 41st?
Here’s the map:
The 20 happiest nations in the World are:
5. The Bahamas
13. Costa Rica
15. The Netherlands
16. Antigua and Barbuda
18. New Zealand
20. The Seychelles
Other notable results include:
The three least happy countries were:
176. Democratic Republic of the Congo