Happy, happy people!

According to a study reported by the BBC a few years ago, Danes are the happiest people on earth.

Hey, why not? They’re all nine feet tall, slender, blond, and they have a naked mermaid protecting their capital.

Adrian White, the author of the study, used data from a survey of 80,000 people worldwide to create a “happiness map” – or more precisely, “A Global Projection of Subjective Well-being” – which you can see below. The redder the area on the map the happier the people who live there (with cold, yellow Siberia seeming not very happy at all).


It looks like we’re pretty happy over here in Canada, and in the U.S. too. It should be noted that the study was released two years before the 2008 economic melt-down.

I was surprised at the happiness rankings in the Middle-east. Despite all the kvetching, Israelis seem to be as happy as pie, while their neighbours are not amused at all. There’s a notable and surprising exception; Saudi Arabia. Apparently the Saudis are as happy as the Israelis! In light of the secret diplomatic “cables” exposed by Wikileaks this week, in which we learned that the Saudis – like the Israelis – are quite happy to bomb the heck out of Iran, they’re starting to look like happy peas in a happy pod. Perhaps the Saudi-Israeli tensions we’ve been fretting over for the past few decades is a big sham and they’re really BFFs in secret! We’ll need to read more from Wikileaks to find out!

You’ll also notice that Kuwait ranks as happy as Saudi Arabia, and its once-invading neighbour to the north, Iraq, doesn’t even rank a color. Now there’s a fine revenge for 1991, served cold and grey.

6 thoughts on “Happy, happy people!

  1. I find it interesting that France and Japan are mediocre happy. I would have expected each to be a bit happier. Though I think the French revel in being melancholy.

  2. India is well below average. So all that crap of being a pious nation, very religious minded and family oriented is just a bunch of baloney?

  3. Roshan, not necessarily. I think a group of people can be pious, religious minded and family oriented and still be unhappy due to the pressures of overpopulation, poverty, wealth disparity and concerns about the social schisms that rapid modernization can create in a society that that is otherwise very steeped in its traditions.

    Also, if you read the BBC article, you’ll see that “happiness” was very much aligned with health, prosperity, and education. There is very clearly a rapidly growing healthy, wealthy, and educated middle class in India, but given that the country’s population is over one billion, that middle class is still very much a minority.

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