The Human Truth Foundation

International Happiness
Which Countries and Regions are Most Happy?

By Vexen Crabtree 2018


Comments:
FB, LJ

#denmark #finland #happiness #human_development #netherlands #norway

Studying happiness is difficult and people tend to overstate their own happiness - in particular those who are aware of international studies of happiness and want to portray their country in a good light. It is also especially overstated by religious folk who are institutionalized into repeating the story of 'how happy my religion makes me'1.

Over many years, the happiest countries have been those of northern Europe - Finland, Norway, Denmark, plus the Netherlands. The unhappiest continent is Africa (by a wide margin).

It is of course true that the happiest people are not those who are necessarily leading the best lives. Excess, indulgence and short-term policy can all lead to a high rating on this chart; things like living morally and frugally, for example, do not automatically go hand in hand with happiness even though they are virtues. But by comparing national happiness to overall development via the Social And Moral index score; we see that overall national development is strongly correlated to average happiness. In other words, the key to making a population happy in the long term is the embracing of liberal democratic values, human rights, tolerance, good education, and a strong social net (which are the factors which cause high rankings on the Social & Moral index).


1. Country Rankings

#finland #happiness #human_development

The 2011 and 2018 comes from similar sources; both based on self-declaration during questioning, with answers on a scale of 1 to 10. Analysis and reports are published by the United Nations in both cases. These statistics are widely reported on by the press using simplistic phrases like "Finland is now the best place to live...", but it is more complicated than that: In most regions, education and social mobility determine happiness, rather than the country's placement on the happiness index. Those who are seeking happiness are, most of the time, better off staying where they are, but investing in wiser lifestyle choices. The exception is countries that are very poor or dangerous.

Pos.Happiness (2018)
Higher is better
2
Life Satisfaction (2011)
Higher is better
3
Social & Moral
Higher is better

Points4
1Finland7.67.480.7
2Norway7.67.681.7
3Denmark7.67.881.2
4Iceland7.56.984.9
5Switzerland7.57.579.2
6Netherlands7.47.678.1
7Canada7.37.476.8
8New Zealand7.37.279.6
9Sweden7.37.582.2
10Australia7.37.478.4
11Israel7.27.468.3
12Austria7.17.576.6
13Costa Rica7.17.366.6
14Ireland7.07.077.4
15Germany7.06.778.5
16Belgium6.96.979.6
17Luxembourg6.97.178.9
18USA6.97.170.4
19UK6.86.978.1
20UAE6.87.255.3
21Czech Rep.6.76.368.3
22Malta6.66.265.9
23France6.57.072.8
24Mexico6.56.858.9
25Chile6.56.664.9
26Taiwan6.474.2
27Panama6.47.357.0
28Brazil6.46.861.1
29Argentina6.46.460.9
30Guatemala6.46.353.0
31Uruguay6.46.166.9
32Qatar6.46.656.0
33Saudi Arabia6.46.747.6
34Singapore6.36.567.6
35Malaysia6.35.857.8
36Spain6.36.570.9
37Colombia6.36.455.8
38Trinidad & Tobago6.26.760.2
39Slovakia6.25.962.7
40El Salvador6.26.754.4
41Nicaragua6.15.754.5
42Poland6.15.663.1
43Bahrain6.14.553.6
44Uzbekistan6.15.153.9
45Kuwait6.16.654.3
46Thailand6.16.752.0
47Italy6.06.167.5
48Ecuador6.05.853.7
49Belize6.06.556.8
50Lithuania6.05.462.9
51Slovenia5.96.066.8
52Romania5.95.058.7
53Latvia5.95.064.8
54Japan5.96.173.2
55Mauritius5.95.561.4
56Jamaica5.961.3
57Korea, S.5.96.967.7
58Northern Cyprus5.8
59Russia5.85.449.2
60Kazakhstan5.85.550.8
61Cyprus5.86.762.5
62Bolivia5.85.852.1
63Estonia5.75.570.8
64Paraguay5.75.851.1
65Peru5.75.657.9
66Kosovo5.747.3
67Moldova5.65.850.5
68Turkmenistan5.65.850.1
69Hungary5.64.963.2
70Libya5.64.951.0
71Philippines5.55.054.5
72Honduras5.55.949.4
73Turkey5.55.354.8
74Belarus5.55.251.6
75Pakistan5.55.339.3
76Hong Kong5.45.575.9
77Portugal5.45.268.5
78Serbia5.44.555.7
79Greece5.45.459.6
80Tajikistan5.44.353.8
81Montenegro5.35.554.0
82Croatia5.35.658.9
83Dominican Rep.5.34.756.0
84Algeria5.35.246.5
85Morocco5.35.149.0
86China5.25.048.1
87Azerbaijan5.24.752.5
88Lebanon5.25.249.9
89Macedonia5.24.255.3
90Jordan5.25.750.0
91Nigeria5.24.838.5
92Kyrgyzstan5.14.953.2
93Bosnia & Herzegovina5.14.754.8
94Mongolia5.15.058.2
95Vietnam5.15.853.0
96Indonesia5.15.249.2
97Bhutan5.159.8
98Somalia5.028.6
99Cameroon5.04.440.8
100Bulgaria4.93.955.4
101Nepal4.93.850.1
102Venezuela4.87.548.9
103Gabon4.841.4
104Palestine4.74.838.9
105S. Africa4.74.755.2
106Iran4.74.847.4
107Ivory Coast4.74.240.6
108Ghana4.75.647.8
109Senegal4.63.845.4
110Laos4.65.049.4
111Tunisia4.64.750.4
112Albania4.65.358.4
113Sierra Leone4.64.139.8
114Congo, (Brazzaville)4.64.539.6
115Bangladesh4.55.045.6
116Sri Lanka4.54.252.0
117Iraq4.55.036.0
118Mali4.43.838.5
119Namibia4.44.947.2
120Cambodia4.44.244.2
121Burkina Faso4.44.045.0
122Egypt4.44.144.9
123Mozambique4.45.042.2
124Kenya4.44.448.8
125Zambia4.45.041.8
126Mauritania4.45.038.1
127Ethiopia4.44.441.0
128Georgia4.34.253.8
129Armenia4.34.452.5
130Myanmar (Burma)4.343.5
131Chad4.33.731.0
132Congo, DR4.24.032.5
133India4.24.646.9
134Niger4.24.134.8
135Uganda4.24.243.2
136Benin4.13.742.5
137Sudan4.14.433.8
138Ukraine4.15.150.5
139Togo4.02.838.2
140Guinea4.04.039.9
141Lesotho3.845.4
142Angola3.84.234.7
143Madagascar3.84.445.1
144Zimbabwe3.74.838.6
145Afghanistan3.63.838.6
146Botswana3.63.648.0
147Malawi3.65.142.9
148Haiti3.63.846.7
149Liberia3.54.244.5
150Syria3.54.139.7
151Rwanda3.44.045.9
152Yemen3.43.732.3
153Tanzania3.34.143.2
154S. Sudan3.338.5
155Central African Rep.3.13.632.4
156Burundi2.93.836.0
q=156.

There are large gaps in happiness between countries, and these will continue to create major pressures to migrate. Some of those who migrate between countries will benefit and others will lose. In general, those who move to happier countries than their own will gain in happiness, while those who move to unhappier countries will tend to lose.

Helliwell, Layard & Sachs (2018)5

Statistical analysis can reveal which factors are associated with national happiness levels. United Nations analysis say for the period 2005-2017, six factors in particular explained the data6. These are:

  1. GDP per capita,
  2. social support,
  3. healthy life expectancy,
  4. social freedom,
  5. generosity, and
  6. absence of corruption.

Also on the chart is each country's Social And Moral index score; showing that overall national development is strongly correlated to average happiness. In other words, the key to making a population happy in the long term is the embracing of liberal democratic values, human rights, tolerance, good education, and a strong social net (which are the factors which cause high rankings on the Social & Moral index).

See:

2. Regional Comparisons

#australia #happiness #human_development #new_zealand

This data is skewed by the fact that there is only data for two countries in Australasia - New Zealand and Australia, who both score highly.

AreaSocial & Moral
Higher is better

Points4
Life Satisfaction (2011)
Higher is better
3
Happiness (2018)
Higher is better
2
Africa...42.94.44.29
Asia...52.75.35.29
Australasia51.47.37.30
Europe...64.95.96.06
Middle East...49.65.65.35
North America57.66.36.09
South America56.86.35.98
World53.75.45.38

3. Happiness and Religion: Does Belief Make You Happy Or Does Unhappiness Make You Believe?

#happiness #human_development #religion #religions #secularisation

Scattergraph of god-belief (theism), religiosity and happiness, by country

Source:7

Religious believers often say that their religion makes them happy and that this is one of the reasons for them remaining loyal to their religion8,9. The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was distraught by this, blurting out that no-one should "regard a doctrine as true merely because it makes people happy... happiness and virtue are no arguments"10. But even more unfortunately, it happens that across the world, religious countries are still unhappy.

Adrian White, a University of Leicester psychologist [analyzed] more than a hundred studies that questioned eighty thousand people worldwide. [...] White's work clearly shows that high levels of belief do not guarantee high levels of happiness for societies. Based on the data, high levels of nonbelief seem more conducive to a society's overall happiness than belief.

Adrian White
Science Daily (2006)11

For the full text on this, see: Happiness and Religion: Does Belief Make You Happy Or Does Unhappiness Make You Believe?.

Current edition: 2018 Mar 24
http://www.humantruth.info/happiness.html
Parent page: The Human Truth Foundation

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#australia #denmark #finland #happiness #human_development #netherlands #new_zealand #norway #religion #religions #secularisation

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References: (What's this?)

Book Cover

Clarke, Peter B.. Peter B. Clarke: Professor Emeritus of the History and Sociology of Religion, King's College, University of London, and currently Professor in the Faculty of Theology, University of Oxford, UK.
(2011) The Oxford Handbook of The Sociology of Religion. Paperback book. Originally published 2009. Current version published by Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

Harrison, Guy P.
(2008) 50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God. E-book. Amazon Kindle digital edition. Published by Prometheus Books, New York, USA.

James, William. (1842-1910)
(1902) The Varieties of Religious Experience. Paperback book. Subtitled: "A Study in Human Nature". 5th (1971 fifth edition) edition. Originally published 1960. From the Gifford Lectures delivered at Edinburgh 1901-1902. Quotes also obtained from Amazon digital Kindle 2015 Xist Publishing edition. Book Review.

Lynn, Harvey & Nyborg
(2009) Average intelligence predicts atheism rates across 137 nations. Richard Lynn, John Harvey and Helmuth Nyborg. Published in Intelligence (2009 Jan/Feb) vol. 37 issue 1 pages 11-15. Online at www.sciencedirect.com, accessed 2009 Sep 15.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. (1844-1900)
(1886) Beyond Good and Evil. E-book. Published by AmazonClassics. Translated from German to English by Helen Zimmern (1846–1934)..

Pessi, Anne Birgitta. Academy Research Fellow and Adjunct Professor at the Collegium for Advanced Studies at the University of Helsinki, Finland.
(2011) Religion and Social Problems: Individual and Institutional Responses. This essay is chapter 52 of "The Oxford Handbook of The Sociology of Religion" by Peter B. Clarke (2011) (pages 941-962).

United Nations
(2011) Human Development Report. Published by the UN Development Programme. This edition had the theme of Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All. Available on hdr.undp.org/... UN Development Program: About the Human Development Index.
(2013) Human Development Report. Published by the UN Development Programme. This edition had the theme of The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World. Available on hdr.undp.org/... UN Development Program: About the Human Development Index.

Zuckerman, P
(2007) "Atheism: contemporary numbers and patterns" in M.Martin (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Atheism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. In Lynn, Harvey & Nyborg (2009)

Footnotes

  1. Pessi (2011) p947.^
  2. Helliwell, Layard & Sachs (2018 Mar 14) article "World Happiness Report" figure 2.2. Date last accessed 2018 Mar 24.. Published by the United Nations.. Data is an average for years 2015 to 2017.^^
  3. UN (2013) Table 9. Higher is better. Table 9. The UN's data is the latest available from a range of data from 2007-2011.^^
  4. "What is the Best Country in the World? An Index of Morality, Conscience and Good Life" by Vexen Crabtree (2017)^^
  5. Helliwell, Layard & Sachs (2018 Mar 14) article "World Happiness Report" p12. Date last accessed 2018 Mar 24.. Published by the United Nations.^
  6. Helliwell, Layard & Sachs (2018 Mar 14) article "World Happiness Report" p16. Date last accessed 2018 Mar 24.. Published by the United Nations.^
  7. Chart data from multiple sources.
    1. Gallup (2009) on gallup.com/poll/142727/.... The survey question was "Is religion an important part of your daily life?" and results are charted as a percent of those who said "yes". 1000 adults were polled in 114 countries.
    2. Overall Life Satisfaction data is from United Nations "Human Development Report" (2011), Table 8, and goes from 1 to 10.
    3. Belief in God from Zuckerman, P. (2007). The belief in God question was phrased as disbelief so the data here is inverted. This exaggerates the numbers of theists, as more shy away from directly saying "I think there is no God", meaning that the chart shows agnostics as well as theists.
    ^
  8. James (1902) digital location 1090.^
  9. Harrison (2008) chapter 10 "Believing in my god makes me happy" .^
  10. Nietzsche (1886) para39.^
  11. Article "Psychologist Produces the First-Ever `World Map of Happiness" published in Science Daily (2006 Nov 14).^

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