And the world's happiest country is..

And the world's happiest country is..

Marseil
Marseil

July 2nd, 2008, 8:14 am #1

And the world's happiest country is..

Tue Jul 1, 2008 5:21pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Denmark, with its democracy, social equality and peaceful atmosphere, is the happiest country in the world, researchers said on Monday.

Zimbabwe, torn by political and social strife, is the least happy, while the world's richest nation, the United States, ranks 16th.

Overall, the world is getting happier, according to the U.S. government-funded World Values Survey, done regularly by a global network of social scientists.

It found increased happiness from 1981 to 2007 in 45 of 52 countries analyzed.

"I strongly suspect that there is a strong correlation between peace and happiness," said Ronald Inglehart, a political scientist at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research, who directed the study.

And, said Ingelhart, there is a strong correlation between happiness and democracy.

"Denmark is the happiest country in the world in our ratings," Inglehart said in an audio statement released by the National Science Foundation, which paid for the analysis.

"Denmark is prosperous -- not the richest country in the world but it is prosperous."

Puerto Rico and Colombia also rank highly, along with Northern Ireland, Iceland, Switzerland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Canada and Sweden.

"Though by no means the happiest country in the world, from a global perspective the United States looks pretty good," Inglehart said. "The country is not only prosperous; it ranks relatively high in gender equality, tolerance of ethnic and social diversity and has high levels of political freedom."

The survey, first done in 1981, has kept to two simple questions:

"Taking all things together, would you say you are very happy, rather happy, not very happy, not at all happy?" And, "All things considered, how satisfied are you with your life as a whole these days?"

Writing in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science, Ingelhart's team said they have surveyed 350,000 people.

"Ultimately, the most important determinant of happiness is the extent to which people have free choice in how to live their lives," Inglehart said.

(Reporting by Maggie Fox, editing by Philip Barbara)

© Thomson Reuters 2008. All rights reserved. Users may download and print extracts of content from this website for their own personal and non-commercial use only. Republication or redistribution of Thomson Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Thomson Reuters. Thomson Reuters and its logo are registered trademarks or trademarks of the Thomson Reuters group of companies around the world.

Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
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Cool beans boi
Cool beans boi

July 2nd, 2008, 2:28 pm #2

I saw a piece on 60 minutes about this. It appears that the Danes have low expectations and therefore they are dissappointed less.
I say good for them! They are realists with a great socialist society. So refreshing compared to the rat race of the USA.

Chris
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

July 2nd, 2008, 4:52 pm #3

And the world's happiest country is..

Tue Jul 1, 2008 5:21pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Denmark, with its democracy, social equality and peaceful atmosphere, is the happiest country in the world, researchers said on Monday.

Zimbabwe, torn by political and social strife, is the least happy, while the world's richest nation, the United States, ranks 16th.

Overall, the world is getting happier, according to the U.S. government-funded World Values Survey, done regularly by a global network of social scientists.

It found increased happiness from 1981 to 2007 in 45 of 52 countries analyzed.

"I strongly suspect that there is a strong correlation between peace and happiness," said Ronald Inglehart, a political scientist at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research, who directed the study.

And, said Ingelhart, there is a strong correlation between happiness and democracy.

"Denmark is the happiest country in the world in our ratings," Inglehart said in an audio statement released by the National Science Foundation, which paid for the analysis.

"Denmark is prosperous -- not the richest country in the world but it is prosperous."

Puerto Rico and Colombia also rank highly, along with Northern Ireland, Iceland, Switzerland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Canada and Sweden.

"Though by no means the happiest country in the world, from a global perspective the United States looks pretty good," Inglehart said. "The country is not only prosperous; it ranks relatively high in gender equality, tolerance of ethnic and social diversity and has high levels of political freedom."

The survey, first done in 1981, has kept to two simple questions:

"Taking all things together, would you say you are very happy, rather happy, not very happy, not at all happy?" And, "All things considered, how satisfied are you with your life as a whole these days?"

Writing in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science, Ingelhart's team said they have surveyed 350,000 people.

"Ultimately, the most important determinant of happiness is the extent to which people have free choice in how to live their lives," Inglehart said.

(Reporting by Maggie Fox, editing by Philip Barbara)

© Thomson Reuters 2008. All rights reserved. Users may download and print extracts of content from this website for their own personal and non-commercial use only. Republication or redistribution of Thomson Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Thomson Reuters. Thomson Reuters and its logo are registered trademarks or trademarks of the Thomson Reuters group of companies around the world.

Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
I've always had a favorable impression of Denmark until recently when I read the Denmark government blocks many U.S. websites- especially news and political sites. I don't think a free country should be engaged in censorship.

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Bob
Bob

July 2nd, 2008, 4:57 pm #4

I saw a piece on 60 minutes about this. It appears that the Danes have low expectations and therefore they are dissappointed less.
I say good for them! They are realists with a great socialist society. So refreshing compared to the rat race of the USA.

Chris
I saw the "60 Minutes" story and was going to say the exact same thing: Expectations, not conditions per se, appear to greatly affect people's stated satisfaction/dissatisfaction.

Many years ago, I'd heard it said that the true cause of the 1960's Watts (Calif) riots was the highentened expectations that blacks in that locale had. Without the civil rights movement, no one would have expected improvements and the riots might not have occurred.
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Marseil
Marseil

July 3rd, 2008, 8:47 am #5

Indeed, if you have low expectations, they are more easily satisfied.

I think this is why the French will never appear in such a ranking. The French are never happy with what they get, always complaining, always on strike, etc....

Marseil.
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Marseil
Marseil

July 3rd, 2008, 8:48 am #6

I've always had a favorable impression of Denmark until recently when I read the Denmark government blocks many U.S. websites- especially news and political sites. I don't think a free country should be engaged in censorship.
I can hardly believe Denmark censors anything. Have you got more details? a source? about this.

Marseil.
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Bob
Bob

July 3rd, 2008, 5:17 pm #7

Indeed, if you have low expectations, they are more easily satisfied.

I think this is why the French will never appear in such a ranking. The French are never happy with what they get, always complaining, always on strike, etc....

Marseil.
I always tell clients, "The squeaky wheel gets the grease," even from me (not that I don't care, but its true). Those who complain and demand are likely to get more service than those who patiently weight and demand little (though the latter people, if its really based upon low expectations rather than feeling afraid to complain) might end up happier in the end?
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

July 3rd, 2008, 5:53 pm #8

I can hardly believe Denmark censors anything. Have you got more details? a source? about this.

Marseil.
Well you've put me on the spot, Marseil. It surprised me too since Denmark is well known for permissiveness, which it why it stuck in my mind when I read this a few weeks ago, but I read so much from so many different sources I can't recall where I saw this now and I can't find it via Google News so I may have to retract my statement, not because I don't think I read it but because I can't substantiate it now.
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Jeffrey
Jeffrey

July 4th, 2008, 4:18 pm #9

I've always had a favorable impression of Denmark until recently when I read the Denmark government blocks many U.S. websites- especially news and political sites. I don't think a free country should be engaged in censorship.
I sincerely doubt the veracity of your statements re the Danish gov. In addition to the fact that the happiness of the Danish people likely stems from the permissiveness that prevails in the country, it just so happens that a coalition of Liberal/Danish People's Parties have formed the current government since 2001. It's quite controversial domestically that Prime Minister Rasmussen frequently supports Bush policies. I really doubt your assertion.
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

July 4th, 2008, 5:10 pm #10

I understand your skepticism. I wish I could find the article now but since I can't feel free to discount it.
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