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Species8473

Have you read the study by Adrian White, or other studies on world happiness? That come up with different results: http://www.happyplanetindex.org/map.htm. I don't believe the image you provided (with 20 of 178 countries) is sufficient material to draw on proper conclusions.

Something I found interesting is that Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Sweden, and Norway, take 5 out of 20 slots in the top 20. Could it be related to geography? Seems more valid then your theory of "oldest" democracies, even with Denmark doing best, the United States ranks at 23, and the United Kingdom even is at place 41.

There also is a study on child well-being in a group of rich countries by UNICEF, where the U.S. and U.K. end the list. While the top five countries (The Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Spain) are all monarchies! And another look at the world happiness study, shows monarchies take 7 out of 10 places in the top 10: Denmark (1), The Bahamas (5), Finland (6), Sweden (7), Bhutan (8), Brunei (9), Canada (10).

Incredible, I always thought monarchies were a waste of money, but this really gives new perspective. Should we spread monarchy instead of democracy?

World Citizen

Well, the better social services and protestion, the happier the child, and, for instance, Denmark has one of the best social services available to its citizens... US has the worst social services, that's why its at the end of theat list.

GK

'World Citizen' (what a stupid name),

Don't you know how to read a chart? The US is the second happiest country on the chart above, after Denmark. That is not the 'end of the list' as you weirdly claim.

Then again, you are someone who says that genocide is 'healthy and necessary', so that shows what you are.

Species8473

GK, you are responding to my message, not to the one by World Citizen. First of all, like I pointed out already. The image you base your conclusions on, shows only 20 out of 178 countries. In the actual study (that you didn't look into), the U.S. ranks place 23, and the U.K. ranks place 41. That's well above average, but the U.S. is not the second happiest country. The study where the U.S. ends the list is from UNICEF, I included a link so you can verify the information yourself.

I have no idea what the "genocide" stuff is about. But I think World Citizen is correct with his point on "best social services".

Here is a somewhat more detailed report from the study by Adrian White from the University of Leicester: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2006-07/uol-uol072706.php. And this quote from the author backs up what World Citizen said: "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 20 happiest nations in the World are:
1. Denmark (best)
2. Switzerland
3. Austria
4. Iceland
5. The Bahamas
6. Finland
7. Sweden
8. Bhutan
9. Brunei
10. Canada
11. Ireland
12. Luxembourg
13. Costa Rica
14. Malta
15. The Netherlands
16. Antigua and Barbuda
17. Malaysia
18. New Zealand
19. Norway
20. The Seychelles

23. United States
41. United Kingdom

The other study by UNICEF on child well-being in rich countries comes up with the following list:
1. Netherlands (best)
2. Sweden
3. Denmark
4. Finland
5. Spain
6. Switzerland
7. Norway
8. Italy
9. Ireland
10. Belgium
11. Germany
12. Canada
13. Greece
14. Poland
15. Czech Republic
16. France
17. Portugal
18. Austria
19. Hungary
20. United States
21. United Kingdom (worst)

In the study from the NEF the Happy Planet Index, the United States is marked as poor on happiness. While countries in Asia (including China) are doing better and rank average.

I think these studies are highly subjective. But it's obvious your method is flawed. You pick an image based on one study that shows only 10% of the countries that were studies. And then state as fact that "The U.S. is the second happiest country", while even in the study you picked it ranks at place 23, and another study marks it as poor on the factor of happiness.

GK

Species8473,

Yes, I am basing it on the chart of 20 countries, not the full list.

Separately, if there was a survey that broke down US happiness among racial lines, one would see white and Asian happiness levels near Denmark levels, while Black happiness levels would be comparable to the lowest countries. The reasons for this are very complex.

Bhutan is a very poor country, but it is happy for other reasons. Yet we don't see people from unhappy India trying to move into Bhutan. On the other hand, the US, as a whole, ranks lower than 22 nations, but gets a lot of net immigration from many of those nations, such as Canada and Costa Rica. Britain, too, gets net immigration from countries ranked higher than it.

Child well-being in rich countries : I noticed that very wealthy Japan, Australia, South Korea, Taiwan, etc. are not included, whereas Poland, the Czech Republic, etc. are. That betrays a selective inclusion designed to make the US/UK look bad.

China vs. US : Just see the direction of the net flow of immigration between the two.

Genocide : You would have to see some of 'World Citizen's' older comments. I don't have time to dig those up right now.

Species8473

I know you are using that image to base on your conclusions, it's a flawed method. The image does not come from the study. And shows a selected group of countries based on unknown terms of unclusion. The UNICEF study is on a group of OECD countries, and I have posted the full list of tested countries from that study. Taiwan is not a member of OECD, while Japan, Australia, South Korea, and Taiwan were excluded for insufficient data. Seems reasonable, and a poor reason to accuse UNICEF of creating a design to make the U.S./U.K. look bad. We have a Dutch saying: "Zoals de waard is vertrouwt hij zijn gasten" that seems to apply here. It roughly translated to "As the host is he trusts his guests".

JMT

Species8473,

Using rank ordering on qualitative indices like "Happiness" is not very informative. I notice that the spread in the first 20 or countries is .5 and the spread in the first 40 is 1. I'm not sure how valuable that .5 of happiness is. One extra ice cream cone a year? Two? On the other hand the scale only goes from 1-10 - now if it went to 11...

The other site you offers shows Mexico two happiness levels above the United States which explains the waves of US citizens moving south.

I also note that given the .62 correlation coefficient (two significant digits!) between happiness and health and .52 between happiness and wealth, either happy people are generally, somewhat wealthy and healthy or vice versa.

The only real use for a statistic that is as qualitative and imprecise as "Happiness" for a whole culture or country is to examine a very broad trends and look for explanations in the extreme outliers which is what GK was doing. He doesn't need every country in the study to do that.

Also, I suspect this statistic may have a cultural bias that scores Asians lower. I wonder if a "satisfaction index" or "living up to my responsibilities index" would produce different scores.

GK

JMT,

"Also, I suspect this statistic may have a cultural bias that scores Asians lower. I wonder if a "satisfaction index" or "living up to my responsibilities index" would produce different scores."

Actually, that is a superb point. Many Asians get more of a rise out of their kid excelling in academic pursuits, than from, say, support a sports team.

Opinonated Vogon

A few months ago I read Spengler who looked at happiness of nations.

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/JE13Ak01.html

You might be interested in his take, and curious where Israel falls on the studies you cite.

Species8473

That article is a complete joke. The criteria suck. Suggesting that people who make a lot of children love life, and people that commit suicide love death. Oh please.. But let's assume there indeed is some connection. Even worse is that this "Spengler" is misleading his readers, by creating a list with only countries that have a higher suicide rate, and a lower fertility rate in respect to Israel. He also conveniently leaves out his sources. But I found out he uses the CIA World Factbook for the fertility rates, and statistics from the World Health Organization for suicide rates. One quick look shows that Israel is doing average, ranking place #68 on the fertility rates ranking - out of 223 countries where lower is better, and on the suicide rates list place #67 - out of 100 countries where ranking higher is better. But while the real statistics show Israel is doing average, "Spengler" goes on making claims such as that "Israelis are the happiest country on Earth, as the numbers indicate", that really is a lie, and he knows it.

doop

Species8473: "While the top five countries (The Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Spain) are all monarchies!"

I do not think that it matters, but Finland is a republic, not a monarchy.

DoesNotMatter

People are happy when they feel that their destiny lies in their own hands. People really do not care all that much about success or failure. What they do care about however is the freedom to fail.....the freedom to try to succeed. Those who are unhappy because they have too much choice......man! what can I say about them. Such people cannot be happy under any system.

Now i would not put my trust under such surveys. they are selective and they reflect the bias of the surveyor. What I will trust are my own experiences of these places. Of the countries I visited, I'd say the U.S is a very happy country as are singapore and the United Arab Emirates. France is moderately happy as are Costa Rica, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines. India, Pakistan, Iran, Bangladesh.....sweet Lord, these are profoundly unhappy countries.

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