The way to be happy may be to live in a country where everyone else is happy too. If you live in Denmark, you live in the happiest country in the world. Switzerland, Austria and Iceland are next, in that order. Canada is number 10 and the US is number 23, behind Costa Rica, The Netherlands and Norway.

UK psychologist Adrian White has created the first world map of happiness, based on the findings of over 100 different studies around the world, which questioned 80,000 people worldwide. He says, “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, followed by wealth, and then?education. 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 capita, and access to education were much more likely to report being happy.

“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?It is worth remembering that the UK is doing relatively well in this area, coming 41st out of 178 nations.”

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