Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

May 15, 2009


ABC News - According to a new report released by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, a Paris-based group of 30 countries with democratic governments that provides economic and social statistics and data, happiness levels are highest in northern European countries.

Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands rated at the top of the list, ranking first, second and third, respectively. Outside Europe, New Zealand and Canada landed at Nos. 8 and 6, respectively. The U.S. did not crack the top 10. Switzerland placed seventh and Belgium placed tenth.

The report looked at subjective well-being, defined as life satisfaction. Did people feel like their lives were dominated by positive experiences and feelings, or negative ones?

To answer that question, the OECD used data from a Gallup World Poll conducted in 140 countries around the world last year. The poll asked respondents whether they had experienced six different forms of positive or negative feelings within the last day.

Some sample questions: Did you enjoy something you did yesterday? Were you proud of something you did yesterday? Did you learn something yesterday? Were you treated with respect yesterday? In each country, a representative sample of no more than 1,000 people, age 15 or older, were surveyed. The poll was scored numerically on a scale of 1-100. The average score was 62.4. . .

While the global economic crisis has taken a toll on every nation, the countries that scored at the top still boast some of the highest gross domestic product per capita in the world. Denmark, which got the highest score, is not only a wealthy country, it's also highly productive, with a 2009 GDP per capita of $68,000, according to the International Monetary Fund. The United States' GDP per capita, by contrast, is $47,335. Though the U.S. got an above-average score of 74, it did not break the top 10.

Wealth alone does not bring the greatest degree of happiness. Norway has the highest GDP per capita on the list--$98,822--yet it ranked ninth, not first. On the other hand, New Zealand's happiness level is 76.7 out of 100 on the OECD list, but its 2009 GDP per capita is just $30,556.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sure who conducted this survey or who they interviewed but it was abviously conducted by a bunch of anti-Americans who only interviewed people in the big "disjointed" cities in America. There are tons of people happy with their lives in rural America for example people are thoroughly content with their way of life! The rest of the world just continue to hate America because they can't match the opportunities we have, people listen to the media too much and get false results. New Zealand is not as great as your survey describe, there is so much crime there, more than the US per capita and much more racist to say the least. I could write a book on how terrible New Zealand is, don't believe the hype.....

July 6, 2009 7:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fact that you can't even lighten up on this little report shows how miserable and bitter you are. Perhaps the report is correct after all.

An American World Traveller

July 9, 2009 1:17 PM  

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