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HAPPINESS DOESN’T COME CHEAPLY!

HappinessRecent data collected and collated through Gallup Polls and Numbeo and published through the United Nations, shows that countries with people who claim to be the happiest, or most satisfied with their lives do not equate to life being ‘cheap’. Countries where costs of living are the lowest do not show-up as having the happiest or most satisfied populations (there is actually very little difference when comparing results for these two definitions). Nor, perhaps surprisingly, do countries with relatively high taxing regimes show up as having unhappy or dissatisfied populations – quite the contrary.

So what factors contribute to a feeling of happiness or satisfaction?

Happiness4

Firstly, countries surveyed do not include those where hostilities are taking place, which would clearly have a big negative effect. Surveys of at least 1,000 people were conducted in each of over 160 other countries.

Secondly, a wide range of criteria was used, reflecting on personal well-being, education, employment and access to media. These variables included GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, social freedom, generosity and absence of corruption.

Thirdly, results take into account the obvious – income against essential expenditure, the latter incorporating items including local purchasing power, rent or mortgage, cost of groceries, medications, eating out in a restaurant.

Regardless of the above, ‘happiness’ is still very subjective, and priorities effecting anyone’s life at any time do not necessarily equate to happiness, a preference to live as they are living at that time rather than some other way. Some would even say that happiness has to be earned!

Saliut in Denmark

The first list is of the top 20 countries where happiness is assessed as highest – 14 are in Europe or North America. Interestingly, the country with the highest tax burden – Denmark – apparently has the happiest population. The second list identifies countries where costs of living are the most affordable: several European countries feature in this list too, and all are compared with New York City at a base of 100. No country appears in both lists, so apparently happiness does not necessarily equate to affordability of lifestyle!

20. Luxembourg
20. Mexico
35.1
19. Ireland
19. Romania
34.80
18. Belgium
18. South Africa
34.75
17. Brazil
17. Philippines
34.73
16. Germany
16. Bosnia/Herzegovina
34.59
15. Puerto Rico
15. Sri Lanka
34.11
14. Costa Rica
14. Albania
33.81
13. USA
12. Serbia
31.86
12. Austria
12. Macedonia
31.86
11. Israel
11. Tunisia
30.67
10. Sweden
10. Columbia
29.25
9. Australia
9. Azerbaijan
28.93
8. New Zealand
8. Algeria
28.89
7. Netherlands
6. Georgia
28.71
6. Canada
6. Ukraine
28.71
5. Finland
5. Nepal
27.34
4. Norway
4. Kazakhstan
26.82
3. Iceland
3. Pakistan
26.69
2. Switzerland
2. Moldova
25.70
1. Denmark
1. India
24.14

 

Is HAPPINESS DOESN’T COME CHEAPLY!