Americans much happier than Indians
Date: Tuesday , March 03, 2009
The U.S. is the 16th happiest country in the world, ahead of more than 80 countries surveyed, while India is well below at 69th position. A survey which happiness researchers find most authentic, says that Denmark, with its democracy, social equality and peaceful atmosphere, is the happiest country in the world.
The study by the University of Michigan’s World Values Surveys (WVS) has compiled data on the happiest countries in the world for over twenty years. The researchers quizzed 350 000 people in 97 nations to find out how happy they are.
Denmark’s economy is a mix of low inflation and low unemployment with emphasis on entrepreneurship and lower taxes. These qualities combined with high marks for innovation and technological savvy had lifted Denmark to the top of a Forbes’ list of the best countries for business.
In the happiness index, Puerto Rico and Colombia, Northern Ireland, Iceland, Switzerland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Canada and Sweden, rank among topers. Among the former USSR countries, only Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan have satisfactory happiness levels while Russia is left behind.
Interestingly, most of the highly happiest countries were democratic ones. Three of the world’s poorer countries with long histories of repressive government Moldova, Armenia and Zimbabwe are at the bottom of the happiness list.
WVS measures the happiness of individuals by two different means. The first is to simply ask them how ‘happy’ they are. The second is to ask them how ‘happy’ they are, and also how ‘satisfied’ they are. The results are then combined to arrive at a measure of their ‘subjective well-being,’ a term generally considered synonymous with happiness.