Friday, July 11, 2008

Happiness Measured

Yet again, the "Island of Echantment" has made it to the top of another
list. This time, it was a study done by the World Values Survey which recently concluded an investigation of the world's happiest countries. Here are the top 10 :

1. Denmark
2. Puerto Rico
3. Colombia
4. Iceland
5. Northern Ireland
6. Republic of Ireland
7. Switzerland
8. Netherlands
9. Canada
10. Austria

According to the study, some of the world's unhappiest countries are Zimbabwe, Iraq, and Russia, amongst others.Whenever I come across these findings, I just ask myself... can something so subjective, such as happiness, really be measured? Yes, I'm well aware that these researchers most likely use some sort of formula to give weights to certain data findings (i.e life expectancy, political stability, GDP per capita, etc.) in order to come up with a number. However, I just can't help but take these surveys with a grain of salt.

Based on the findings of this latest survey, researchers concluded the strong correlation between prosperity, democracy and happiness. I suppose this makes sense because democracy allows individuals the freedom to pursue his dreams. Unsurprisingly, money is not the most important factor when it comes to happiness, as the U.S ranked 16th. After a certain point, money can only mean so much, right? In conclusion, this study found happiness on the rise in 45 of the 52 of the countries surveyed in which data was readily available.

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