Monday, June 30, 2008

Study: World gets happier

Yes, overall the world is much happier than it used to be. 52 countries were studied (there are 193 total), and overall happiness increased in 40 of them between 1981 and 2007. Why? Some probable reasons include:

  1. Low-income countries (particularly India and China) have experienced unprecedented rates of economic growth, pulling millions of people out of poverty;
  2. Democracy has been introduced in many countries, and become stronger and more entrenched in countries that were partially democratic;
  3. Increasing gender equality;
  4. Increased tolerance of ethnic minorities and gays and lesbians in developed societies.

Rich countries tend to be happier than poor countries. And according to University of Michigan political scientist Ronald Inglehart, who headed up the survey, "The results clearly show that the happiest societies are those that allow people the freedom to choose how to live their lives."

Of the countries surveyed, Denmark is the happiest and Zimbabwe the most miserable. The US ranks 16th.


Taco said...

You didn't give me credit for the find!!

Jesse Richards said...

Sorry! Mark found this article, everyone. Thanks!

(For those of you who don't know Mark, he is personally responsible for the improvement in happiness in several parts of the world.)

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