According to the 2nd annual World Happiness Report of the Earth Institute, sponsored by the UN, Canada slipped to 6th place among the world’s happiest countries, Australia ranked 10th and the U.S. dropped down to below that of its neighbours to the south including Costa Rica, Panama and Mexico. Where does your country rank? Read on!
The following article contents have been gleamed from articles in the Huffington Post* and the National Geographic Daily News** and are presented here by Lorimer Wilson, editor of www.FinancialArticleSummariesToday.com and www.munKNEE.com and the FREE Market Intelligence Report newsletter (sample here – register here). The excerpts may have been edited ([ ]), abridged (…) and/or reformatted (some sub-titles and bold/italics emphases) for the sake of clarity and brevity to ensure a fast and easy read. Please note that this paragraph must be included in any article reposting with a link to the article source to avoid copyright infringement.
In recent years, economists and social thinkers have been pushing for new ways to measure countries’ economic and social success, arguing that measures such as GDP aren’t nearly enough to reflect the real circumstances of a country. The World Happiness Report, which looks at economic and social factors such as GDP, life expectancy, perceptions of corruption and the freedom to make one’s own choices, has done just that. Its analysis of the happiness of the citizens of 150 countries found that economic conditions are ultimately less important in determining happiness than things such as personal freedom and social support to such a degree that Americans, participants in the most economically prosperous country in the world, failed to even place in the top 10.
Below is the ranking of the top 20 countries where its citizens are the most happy. You will note that the northern European countries, known for their strong social safety nets and progressive values, place highly.
- The Netherlands
- Canada (5th last year)
- Costa Rica
- New Zealand
- United Arab Emirates
- United States – down from 11th in 2012 (go here and here for the happiest states)
- Venezuela – yes, Venezuela!
- 22. United Kingdom
- 68. Russia
- 93. China
According to the UN report, as conveyed in an article in the National Geographic Daily News, there are some common themes in the happiest places on earth, including:
1. It (mostly) pays to be rich.
Money may not buy happiness, but it sure doesn’t hurt… The world’s happiest countries…are all expensive places to live…[Most of the countries have] high taxes, spend a lot of money on social welfare programs, and enjoy good health care…[In addition,] there are no wars in these places, or malaria, and very little corruption.
2. More money means more problems.
On the other hand, Jeffrey Sachs, the director of Columbia’s Earth Institute and one of the authors of the report, warns that…
- persistent creation of new material ‘wants’ through the incessant advertising of products using powerful imagery and other means of persuasion is preying on psychological weaknesses and unconscious urges, and therefore making us less happy….and that
- such stresses and disillusionment may account for why the overall happiness figures for the (otherwise happy) industrialized West have been declining, while countries in developing regions, especially in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa, have been becoming happier overall…
3. Being poor in Europe can be particularly rough.
Bulgaria may be a member of the European Union, but it is by far its poorest member and is burdened by endemic corruption. A recent poll showed that as much as 5 percent of the population is planning to leave their homeland and emigrate, mainly to the U.K. and Germany.
Bulgaria’s unhappiness quotient, as measured by the survey, puts the country in a deeply unhappy 144th place—behind Afghanistan (143rd), Yemen (142nd), and Iraq (105th). Even Zimbabweans, whose country has endured an average inflation rate of nearly 1,200 percent for the past decade, seem considerably more contented than Bulgarians, coming in at 103rd on the list.
4. Nice weather doesn’t correlate to happiness.
Forget palm trees and crystalline beaches, azure seas, and thoughts of plump mangoes falling into your lap—such things may be okay for holiday dreaming, but lovely weather doesn’t seem to cut it when it comes to making us happy on a day-to-day basis.
With the lone exception of Australia (coming in at number 10), all of the world’s top-ten happiest countries have long, bleak winters. Iceland, which edges out Australia at number 9 on the list, barely sees the sun at all. In contrast, Mauritius, a favorite honeymoon and holiday destination for the happy folk of northern Europe, is at 67th on the happy list, and Jamaica in the sunny Caribbean languishes in 75th place.
5. Happy people ride bicycles—by choice.
Denmark and the Netherlands (the happiest and the fourth-happiest countries on earth) are renowned for being the world’s most bicycle-friendly nations; the other most-happy countries are also famously bicycle friendly. To be sure, much of the developing world gets about by bicycle, as does economic powerhouse China, but not, it seems, because they want to….
Canadians are the second happiest group in the world, after Australia, according to the results of a new study in which citizens of 34 countries were able to rate their own country on the things that made them feel they were experiencing a happy life. Where do the United Kingdom and the United States rank themselves? Read on! Words: 517 Read More »
The information below is compiled by Lorimer Wilson, editor of www.FinancialArticleSummariesToday.com and www.munKNEE.com and the FREE Market Intelligence Report newsletter (sample here – register here) and comes from 3 sites hyperlinked at the end. If you don’t find what you are looking for in the 10 maps below pay them a visit. There are hundreds of such maps of various kinds on various subjects. I think those below are the best of the lot. Enjoy! Read More »