Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Apparently we aren't just a bunch of Grumps

It's remarkable how difficult it is these days to make the argument that we're living healthier, wealthier and even happier lives without being challenged as being some pollyanna-ish freak. So for you doubters out there, here's some more proof - Americans apparently are also a pretty happy bunch (Science Daily, h/t Instapundit):

Denmark tops the list of surveyed nations, along with Puerto Rico and Colombia. A dozen other countries, including Ireland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Canada and Sweden also rank above the United States, which maintains about the same relative position as it did in WVS's 2000 survey.

"Though by no means the happiest country in the world, from a global perspective the U.S. looks pretty good," says Ronald Inglehart, a political scientist at the university, who directs the study. "The country is not only prosperous; it ranks relatively high in gender equality, tolerance of ethnic and social diversity and has high levels of political freedom."


"Ultimately, the most important determinant of happiness is the extent to which people have free choice in how to live their lives."

Even so, researchers note that wealth is important for happiness. Not surprisingly, three of the world's poorer countries with long histories of repressive government--Moldova, Armenia and Zimbabwe--are at the bottom of the happiness list. Virtually all of the lowest ranking nations struggle with legacies of authoritarian rule and widespread poverty.
Hmmm... I wonder if the authors of the article ever considered the possibility that free choice and wealth are correlated. In any event, just in case you were curious, the US ranks #23 and France #62 out of 178 countries - but that probably isn't news to you.

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