Which is the happiest country in the world?
It seems that in the Netherlands, despite the fact that they have just lost the World Cup in the final match against Spain, people are kind of satisfied with their lives. The most recent poll revealed the fact that this is one of the happiest countries in the world. On the other hand, Spain, the recent World Cup winner, occupies only a low position in Europe when it comes to happiness of the habitants.
So, in Europe, the happiest countries are Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands, all being neighbors and being situated in the same part of Europe, the north of the continent. When it comes to income, it is worth to mention that these five countries have similar high levels of prosperity.
The study was made by researchers from Gallup World Poll between 2005 and 2009. Thousands of respondents from 155 countries were questioned to establish their level of well being. How did researchers managed to quantify happiness? Well, the questions were made in such a way to allow them the possibility to establish how happy people really are.
The first question was liked to the overall satisfaction with the individuals’ lives, the way they see it. People were asked to give “life evaluation” score between 1 and 10 and they were also asked to tell how they felt in the previous day, so the specialists could establish if they feel respected, if they are satisfied with their lives and if they are intellectually engaged.
What makes people happy? The answer is simple: money. The Gallup researchers have managed to prove a reality that most of us already know: if money can not buy happiness, they definitely can contribute to achieving it. So, in countries where unemployment rates are low and where people have good incomes, individuals are happier. Money and success are considered vital for happiness achieving and this is what the study has proved. For many people the level of their success and happiness is linked directly to their incomes and so, to the way they evaluate their lives. The fact that Denmark, the world’s happiest country, had a per-capita GDP of $36,000 in 2009 only confirms the researchers’ hypothesis.
But, not everything should be reduced to money. Income undoubtedly influenced happiness according to the Gallup study, but there is more to achieving the happiness state than just money. Costa Rica is the best example to demonstrate this fact. The country is the sixth happiest one in the American continent and it is not the richest or wealthiest one. And this is because social networks in Costa Rica are tight. Here people put a lot of value on relationships and feelings, so money or career are placed in the second place.
From this point of view, the conclusion is that happiness is determined in different means in different countries according to the values and the culture of country, but happiness is in most cases linked to money and incomes. But is money enough to be able to say that you are completely happy and satisfied? Probably until you analyze your life and you see that something is missing.11