The comparative happiness of nations

happiness-rankings

The Washington Post last week published another of its country comparison maps, this one of the comparative happiness of nations, based on Gallup polls.  Like the others, it is fascinating but should be taken as an indicator rather than an exact measurement.

As I would have expected, people in nations with a high degree of material prosperity were on average happier than people in poor countries, and people in nations suffering invasion or civil war were less happy than people in nations blessed by internal peace.

These considerations appear to override religion.  The promise of Buddhism, for example, is that it offers a way to overcome unhappiness, yet Cambodia and war-torn Sri Lanka are among the unhappiness of nations, while peaceful Thailand is one of the happiest.

But there are interesting exceptions.  Latin American nations seem happier than their political and economic situations would lead me to expect.  Mexicans are in the same category as Americans and Canadians, while Brazilians and war-torn Colombians are on average as happy as Britons, French and Germans.

Click on A fascinating map of the world’s happiest and least happy countries for the full article by Caitlin Dewey for the Washington Post.

Here are some other country comparisons.  Maybe you can see correlations that I miss.

countryincomegroups

map_world_religionsatheism-map

alcohol.consumption.country.comparison

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2 Responses to “The comparative happiness of nations”

  1. Atticus Says:

    “Mexicans are in the same category as Americans and Canadians, while Brazilians and war-torn Colombians are on average as happy as Britons, French and Germans”

    I wonder if that has to do with culture and perceived self-happiness. Some cultures just feel happier than others – no matter the circumstance.

    Like

  2. philebersole Says:

    Atticus, I think you’re right about that. I recall reading the posts on BlogTruth about your experiences in Guatemala and Peru.

    Without discounting the importance of peace and prosperity, I think some individuals and cultures have the ability to enjoy and be thankful for whatever they have, while others are discontented and resentful no matter what they have.

    Like

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