If you live in Denmark, count yourself as highly fortunate – it has the highest satisfaction with life rating of any country in the world, according to research data from Adrian White, analytic social psychologist at the University of Leicester in England.
White has published the World Map of Happiness, an interactive map that illustrates interational differences of happiness among the people of 177 countries. The map is based on an analysis of results from over 100 studies.
The concept of happiness, or satisfaction with life (SWL), is currently a major area of research in economics and psychology, White says, most closely associated with new developments in positive psychology. Says White:
There is a belief that capitalism leads to unhappy people. 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.
According to White’s data, the top 10 countries in the world with the highest SWL rankings are:
- Brunei Darussalam
Four of the ten are Nordic countries (counting Iceland as Nordic). Six are in Europe. The Netherlands, where I live, scores 15. Better than the USA at 23, Australia at 26, the UK at 41 or France at 62.
So now I know one reason why Allan finds Denmark such an appealing place to live.
Countries at the bottom of the happiness table hold few surprises. Bottom of everyone, at 177, is Zimbabwe. Sudan is 173. Russia is at 167. Lebanon is 113 although in light of current events, I wonder what the number would be today.
See also – The Happiness Formula at BBC News.