Once again, Norwegians rank among the happiest people in the world, behind only their fellow Nordic neighbours in Denmark and Finland. The latest Gallup World Poll indicates that the Nordic countries, with their social welfare states and relative affluence, must be doing something right.
Only the people of Iceland were missing when four out of the five Nordic countries grabbed the top spots on the Gallup World Poll’s list. Sweden ranked just after Norway in a tie for fourth place with The Netherlands. Iceland fell to 23rd place this year, after a year of financial and volcanic crisis.
Forbes Magazine reported that the list, ranked by the percentage of a country’s population considered to be “thriving,” was compiled by researchers who surveyed thousands of respondents in 155 countries between 2005 and 2009.
In Norway, also considered by the United Nations to be the world’s best place to live, fully 69 percent of the population were said to be thriving while none of the respondents was “suffering.” But 31 percent were considered to be “struggling,” compared to 30 percent in Sweden, even though the economy in Sweden is considered to be weaker than Norway’s.
No one came close to being as happy as the Danes, with fully 82 percent said to be thriving and only 17 percent struggling. One percent of the Danes, though, were considered to be suffering. Norway was the only country that could boast zero percent suffering.
In Finland, 75 percent were considered thriving, 23 percent struggling and 2 percent suffering.
According to Forbes, Gallup researchers first asked those being surveyed to reflect on their overall satisfaction, ranking their answers on a scale of one to 10. Then the researchers asked whether their subjects felt well-rested, respected, free of pain and intellectually engaged. Their answers were used to determine the rate of “thriving, struggling or suffering.”
Costa Rica, New Zealand, Canada, Israel and Australia rounded out the top 10 of the world’s happiest populations. Israel’s presence on the list may surprise some, given its ongoing violent conflicts with its neighbours, but 62 percent of Israelis were considered thriving.
The US, meanwhile, ranked 14th on the list of the world’s happiest, behind even Panama and Brazil. Japan was 81st and Russia 73rd.
The residents of Togo in Africa ranked as the world’s unhappiest of the 155 countries polled.
See the complete list here. (External link)
See also Norway high on ‘most admired’ list.