Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Psychologist Produces The First-ever 'World Map Of Happiness'

Adrian White, an analytic social psychologist at the University's School of Psychology, analysed data published by UNESCO, the CIA, the New Economics Foundation, the WHO, the Veenhoven Database, the Latinbarometer, the Afrobarometer, and the UNHDR, to create a global projection of subjective well-being: the first world map of happiness.

Participants in the various studies were asked questions related to happiness and satisfaction with life. The meta-analysis is based on the findings of over 100 different studies around the world, which questioned 80,000 people worldwide. For this study data has also been analysed in relation to health, wealth and access to education.

Whilst collecting data on subjective well-being is not an exact science, the measures used are very reliable in predicting health and welfare outcomes.

There is increasing political interest in using measures of happiness as a national indicator in conjunction with measures of wealth. A recent BBC survey found that 81% of the population think the Government should focus on making us happier rather than wealthier.

Further analysis showed that a nation's level of happiness was most closely associated with health levels (correlation of .62), followed by wealth (.52), and then provision of education (.51).

The three predictor variables of health, wealth and education were also very closely associated with each other, illustrating the interdependence of these factors.

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 captia, and access to education were much more likely to report being happy.
And if you were wondering how countries rate in happiness, here are some rankings: 1. Denmark, 2. Switzerland, 8. Bhutan, 10. Canada, 23. USA, 62. France, 82. China, 90. Japan, 125. India, 167. Russia.

via ScienceDaily


crush41 said...

This story is a few months old. I'm skeptical of the results. Here's why.

Fat Knowledge said...


I agree with you that we need to be very skeptical with regards to happiness surveys. I too would like to understand more about how he gathered his information and what the possible issues with his methodology are. The idea of trying to measure happiness by country seems like a good one to me, so hopefully there will be other studies in the future to compare this one with.

I left further comments on your post.

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