The projection, which is to be published in a psychology journal this September, will be presented at a conference later in the year. Participants in the various studies were asked questions related to happiness and satisfaction with life. The meta-analysis is based on the findings of over 100 different studies around the world, which questioned 80,000 people worldwide. For this study data has also been analysed in relation to health, wealth and access to education. Whilst collecting data on subjective well-being is not an exact science, the measures used are very reliable in predicting health and welfare outcomes. It can be argued that whilst these measures are not perfect they are the best we have so far, and these are the measures that politicians are talking of using to measure the relative performance of each country. The researchers have argued that regular testing as a collaboration between academics in different countries would enable us to track changes in happiness, and what events may cause that. For example what effect would a war, or famine, or national success have on a country's members' happiness. . Adrian White said: "The concept of happiness, or satisfaction with life, is currently a major area of research in economics and psychology, most closely associated with new developments in positive psychology. It has also become a feature in the current political discourse in the UK. " There is increasing political interest in using measures of happiness as a national indicator in conjunction with measures of wealth. A recent BBC survey found that 81% of the population think the Government should focus on making us happier rather than wealthier.
"Further analysis showed that a nation's level of happiness was most closely associated with health levels (correlation of .62), followed by wealth (.52), and then provision of education (.51). In short, this says that health, wealth and education are the three leading drivers of happiness. Interesting!
"The three predictor variables of health, wealth and education were also very closely associated with each other, illustrating the interdependence of these factors. "There is a belief that capitalism leads to unhappy people. However, when people are asked if they are happy with their lives, people in countries with good healthcare, a higher GDP per capita, and access to education were much more likely to report being happy. "We were surprised to see countries in Asia scoring so low, with China 82nd, Japan 90th and India 125th. These are countries that are thought as having a strong sense of collective identity which other researchers have associated with well-being. "It is also notable that many of the largest countries in terms of population do quite badly. With China 82nd, India 125th and Russia 167th it is interesting to note that larger populations are not associated with happy countries." "The frustrations of modern life, and the anxieties of the age, seem to be much less significant compared to the health, financial and educational needs in other parts of the World. The current concern with happiness levels in the UK may well be a case of the 'worried well'." The 20 happiest nations in the World are: 1. Denmark 2. Switzerland 3. Austria 4. Iceland 5. The Bahamas 6. Finland 7. Sweden 8. Bhutan 9. Brunei 10. Canada 11. Ireland 12. Luxembourg 13. Costa Rica 14. Malta 15. The Netherlands 16. Antigua and Barbuda 17. Malaysia 18. New Zealand 19. Norway 20. The Seychelles
Other notable results include: 23. USA 35. Germany 41. UK 62. France 82. China 90. Japan 125. India 167. Russia The three least happy countries were: 176. Democratic Republic of the Congo 177. Zimbabwe 178. Burundi Source: Science Daily