Denmark Happiest Country; U.S. Pretty Happy Too
Ha! Nice try, hippies. It was fiendishly clever to wrap your pro-planet ideas with a lot of impressive jargon and a color-coded map to make your conclusions seem scientifically sound. Much like a professional clear plastic binder, one should almost always get credit for a map or chart.
Fortunately for Americans, there's a new kid in town, at least as clever as the environmentalists, with conclusions that will make us feel better about our country.
The new survey is by Adrian White, an analytic social psychologist and University of Leicester student conducting research toward a Ph.D in, yes, analytic social psychology. He's no doubt clever and unafraid to boldly claim to have produced "the first ever 'world map of happiness.'" (He likely finished his first, and The Happy Planet people just published theirs before his was released unto the world via press release.)
White studied data from UNESCO, the CIA, the New Economics Foundation, the WHO, the Veenhoven Database, the Latinbarometer, the Afrobarometer, and the UNHDR. He found the three factors that most predicted happiness were "good healthcare, a higher GDP per captia, and access to education". GDP is right in the middle, snuggled in close to the others -- and indeed, White says the three were "very closely associated with each other, illustrating the interdependence of these factors."
He also found that "many of the largest countries in terms of population do quite badly." Among them: Russia (167th), India (125th), Japan (90th), and China (82nd).
Burundi came in last place in the survey. Those living in Zimbabwe and Democratic Republic of the Congo are only slightly happier, respectively.
Perhaps it was positive spin, but with respect to the UK's ranking of 41st, White tells us, "It is worth remembering that the UK is doing relatively well in this area, coming 41st out of 178 nations."
The Sunday Times felt it was not worth remembering, or they just forgot:
Is everybody happy? Well, the Danes are. Denmark, according to a new study from Leicester University based on surveys of more than 80,000 people worldwide, is the happiest nation on earth.
The British are not. We rank 41st, well behind Ireland (11th), America (23rd) and even Germany (35th).
They dig out the Viking stereotype for a headline about "the Viking guide to happiness", but also speak with an actual Dane, Peter Christgau. He says, "Danes have a good work-life balance... everyone is very casual and very much down to earth. Even if you're really successful you drive a small Mini."
The Twenty Happiest Countries: (Until The Next Survey Comes Along)
5. The Bahamas
13. Costa Rica
15. The Netherlands
16. Antigua and Barbuda
18. New Zealand
20. The Seychelles
The Ocean Blue - Denmark (available on Davy Jones' Locker)
The Chemical Brothers - Denmark (available on Come With Us)