Yes, it’s true. A UN-sponsored survey has revealed that Canada ranks 6th in the world for happiness, out of 150 countries surveyed. On a scale of 0-10, Canadians score an average of 7.48 – a very respectable score. Top spot went to Denmark, with a score of 7.69 but Canada equaled Denmark’s scores on key factors like generosity (Question: “Have you donated money to a charity in the past month?”) and life freedom (Question: “Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with your freedom to choose what to do with your life?”). Second was Norway, followed by Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden.
The countries with a colder climate seemed to rank quite high. Not only did Canada do well but so did Finland (7th) and Iceland (9th). In fact, the only country in the top 10 to be a stereotypically sun-soaked land was Australia at number 10. Remember that next time you’re pulling on your snow boots.
What’s interesting about the survey is which countries are getting happier and which are getting more miserable. Greece has had well publicized financial difficulties since the last survey in 2005-2007, and accordingly has dropped 0.89 of a point. Similarly, Egypt – scene of riots and political troubles – has dropped 1.15 of a point. Meanwhile, Angola is getting happier all the time, with the average 1.43 up since the last survey. That may be to do with the 2008 elections there, and the 2010 constitution, citizens tend to be happier when the political situation is stable. They did have a fairly low base to start with though, the last survey scored their happiness rating at just over 4. Other countries getting happier include Ecuador, Zimbabwe and Albania.
So, what is it about Canada that makes it such a great place to live? Well, there’s our generous life expectancy of 81.48 years. There’s our Gross Domestic Product of 1.577 trillion US Dollars, resulting in higher-than-average incomes. And then there are the well-established support networks, with our scores for social support as good as any in the world. Reading between the lines, I guess you could include our peaceful political situation and friendly disposition as causes of the general happiness. And not forgetting things that make our lives easier than our American neighbours – like our health services.
But if you’re reading this from elsewhere, don’t despair! It seems that the world as a whole is getting more cheerful – 60 countries out the 150 surveyed were happier than they were a few years ago. Then again, 41 countries were more miserable. There’s still a chance that wherever you live, your happiness will fluctuate but with Canada staying consistent in 6th position, it seems that not only do we live in a happy place, we live in a place that’s always happy. (Even with our miserable winters!)
Until next time,
Peace, love and vitamin C!