If you’re looking for happiness, go and live in Denmark. It is the happiest country in the world while Burundi in Africa is the most unhappy, according to a report by a British scientist.
Adrian White, an analytical social psychologist at the University of Leicester in central England, based his study on data from 178 countries and 100 global studies from the likes of the United Nations and the World Health Organization.
“We’re looking much more at whether you are satisfied with your life in general,” White told Reuters. “Whether you are satisfied with your situation and environment.”
The main factors that affected happiness were health provision, wealth and education, according to White who said his research had produced the “first world map of happiness”.
Following behind Denmark came Switzerland, Austria, Iceland and the Bahamas.
At the bottom came the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe and Burundi. The United States came in at 23rd, Britain was in 41st place, Germany 35th and France 62nd.
Countries involved in conflicts, such as Iraq, were not included.
The smaller the happier?
“Smaller countries tend to be a little happier because there is a stronger sense of collectivism and then you also have the aesthetic qualities of a country,” White said.
This July 2002 photo shows Copenhagen’s ancient Nyhavn harbor, one of the city’s main tourist attractions.
“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.”
He admitted collecting data based on well-being was not an exact science, but said the measures used were very reliable in predicting health and welfare outcomes.
Regular studies by academics across the globe using the same tests would allow researchers to better understand what factors affected happiness and White said he hoped every country in the future would carry out bi-annual checks.