In What Country Are People the Happiest? (Hint: It’s Not the U.S.)

The OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) currently comprises 34 countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States.

The OECD regularly conducts surveys in its member countries to determine the Life Satisfaction there:

“Life satisfaction measures how people evaluate their life as a whole rather than their current feelings. It captures a reflective assessment of which life circumstances and conditions are important for subjective well-being. When asked to rate their general satisfaction with life on a scale from 0 to 10, people across the OECD gave it a 6.6 grade. Life satisfaction is not evenly shared across the OECD, however. Some countries – Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Portugal, and Turkey – have a relatively low level of overall life satisfaction, with average scores of less than 5.5. At the other end of the scale, scores were higher than 7.5 in Canada, Denmark, Norway, and Switzerland. There is little difference in life satisfaction levels between men (6.6) and women (6.7) across OECD countries. Education levels do, however, strongly influence subjective well-being. Whereas people who have only completed primary education across OECD countries have a life satisfaction level of 6.2, this score reaches 7.2 for people with tertiary education.”

According to the OECD’s most recent survey, the United States rates 17th in Life Satisfaction among the 34 countries: “In general, Americans are less satisfied with their lives than the OECD average, with 75% of people saying they have more positive experiences in an average day (feelings of rest, pride in accomplishment, enjoyment, etc.) than negative ones (pain, worry, sadness, boredom, etc.). This figure is lower than the OECD average of 76%. The top five countries in Life Satisfaction are Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, Canada, and Iceland.

Click this link, then click the “Countries” tab, and choose a country to learn more about “How’s Life” in each of the 34 countries in the OECD survey.

And for a fun interactive Web site on “Regional Well-Being,” click the chart below and give your location. [Note: Click “Don’t detect my location.” When the box pops up, choose your state or country from the menu that appears.] Here’s the link for New York.
 
Well-Being


 

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