Global Economics

European Countries Top World's Happiest


People living in European countries are among the happiest in the world, according to a new survey measuring health, wealth, education and sense of identity.

Denmark tops the list of 178 countries closely followed by Switzerland, Austria and Iceland. Also in the top 20 are Finland, Sweden, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands and Norway.

The least happy Europeans live in the Baltic countries - Lithuania (155), Latvia (154), Estonia (139) - followed by Slovakia (129) and Hungary (107).

In between, Germany ranks 35, the UK 41, Spain 46, Italy 50, France 62 and Poland 99.

The survey showed that happiness is found to be most closely associated with health, followed by wealth and then education.

"There is a belief that capitalism leads to unhappy people," said UK Leicester University social psychologist Adrian White responsible for the report.

"However, when people are asked if they are happy with their lives, people in countries with good healthcare, a higher GDP per capita, and access to education were much more likely to report being happy," he explained in a statement.

At the very bottom on the list were the African countries Burundi, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"The concept of happiness, or satisfaction with life, is currently a major area of research in economics and psychology, most closely associated with new developments in positive psychology," Mr White added.

"There is increasing political interest in using measures of happiness as a national indicator in conjunction with measures of wealth."

A recent BBC survey found that 81 percent of the UK population think their government should focus on making people happier rather than wealthier.

The survey was based on the findings of over 100 different studies around the world, which questioned some 80,000 people in total under the banner of organisations such UNESCO, the CIA and the World Health Organisation.


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