World Map of Happiness

The first world map of happinessThe first ever 'world map of happiness' is produced by Adrian White, a psychologist at University of Leicester. The study involved 178 countries and 80,000 people and is based on the main factors that affect happiness such as health, wealth and access to education. Based on the results, the happiest nation in the world is Denmark. Adrian White said:

“We were surprised to see countries in Asia scoring so low, with China 82nd, Japan 90th and India 125th. These are countries that are thought as having a strong sense of collective identity which other researchers have associated with well-being.

"It is also notable that many of the largest countries in terms of population do quite badly. With China 82nd, India 125th and Russia 167th it is interesting to note that larger populations are not associated with happy countries."

Here is a list of the 10 happiest nations in the world
  • 1 - Denmark
  • 2 - Switzerland
  • 3 - Austria
  • 4 - Iceland
  • 5 - The Bahamas
  • 6 - Finland
  • 7 - Sweden
  • 8 - Bhutan
  • 9 – Brunei
  • 10 – Canada

It is interesting to note that six out of ten in the list were from Europe and out of these six; three were from Scandinavia (northern Europe).

Of the many countries in the list, Europe and Canada are obviously regions of great natural beauty, and that may be one of the reasons why these people are happier. To have an overview of happiness in your region, take a look at the map (click on image for a larger view).

But then again, we are all different individuals, so for each one of us happiness is different. For me, happiness is something to do, something to love and something to hope for. How about you?

Link: University of Leicester
Image: Adrian White, Analytic Social Psychologist, University of Leicester

The study is based on data on happiness published by the New Economics Foundation (Marks, N., Abdallah, S., Simms, A, Thompson, S.(2006). The Happy Planet Index. London: New Economics Foundation). Dr White also sourced data from UNESCO on access to schooling, from the WHO on life expectancy, and from the CIA on GDP per capita. He then performed new analysis with this data to come to a unique and novel set of results; specifically the extent of correlation between measures of poverty, health and education, and the variable of happiness. He also presented the data on happiness in the form of a global projection, the 'World Map of Happiness'.

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