I read an interesting article a while back about a survey done to determine the overall happiness of people from 97 countries. The survey was conducted by social scientiests at the University of Michigan and is entitled The World Values Survey.
The measure of happiness was gauged according to whether the participants say they are happy, very happy or not at all happy and were also asked “all things considered, how satisfied are you with your life as a whole these days.” It did not seem to bear out the old adage that money always increases happiness but their data does point to freedom in lives, democratization and economic development tends to increase the level of happiness. Three very poor countries with very repressive governments were at the bottom – Modlova, Armenia and Zimbabwe.
Reading the article it was perplexing that Guatemala came in at 17th place and the U.S. at 16th. At the end of the article it reveals that only 350,000 people were surveyed in all 97 countries which is approximately 3600 people per country. How did they choose those 3600 participants in China’s large population– were they divided between people of faith and those of no faith; the rich and the poor; were they all from cities or part from rural areas? I believe I need to read more about their surveys at the World Values site and see the survey questions to be able to understand their findings.
Some of the results were:
Denmark 1st place
Columbia 3rd place