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U.S.: 11th happiest place on earth

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Buck, Aug 7, 2012.

  1. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member


    This leaves a lot of questions about cultural differences and biases within the survey.
  2. Cosmo

    Cosmo Well-Known Member

    I figured Sweden would be higher, if only because of the eye candy.
  3. J-School Blue

    J-School Blue Member

    I'm surprised Germany didn't make that list. I would've been surprised at the UK's ommission as well, but the Brits have been more vocal about the hardships of the present economic situation than a lot of other nations in similar situations.

    Apart from that it actually seems like a more sensible ranking than similar studies I've read. It has an obvious US/European bias, but I don't think you can accurately measure a non-quantitative thing like "happiness" across nations with huge cultural differences, so as a comparison among similar entities it seems to work.
  4. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    I'll admit I didn't have the patience to read through and try to figure out the methodology -- if it was included.

    But if it was a measure of how say Danes feel about Denmark relative to how American's feel about the U.S., it misses the mark on something.

    A place like Denmark or Norway is small, insulated and homogenous. A person who picked up from say, Tunisia, and moved to Denmark -- IF he could even get into the country -- would likely not be a very happy person, from what I know.

    That same person might be ecstatic to be driving a cab in New York City, though.

    If it used a methodology that takes into account the relative cultural diversity and sizes of the places it is comparing, disregard what I said. But if it doesn't, as these kinds of rankings often do, I always feel it fails because Denmark, Finland or Norway are not apples to apples with the U.S. in terms of populations and size.
  5. Stoney

    Stoney Well-Known Member

    Find it interesting the way these "happiness" or quality of life studies are always dominated by the coldest weather countries (Norway, Sweden, Canada, Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands, etc.). Is there something about being locked indoors for half the year that contributes to building a better society?
  6. Guy_Incognito

    Guy_Incognito Well-Known Member

    I highly recommend "The Geography of Bliss" - an NPR reporter's journey through the happiest & least happy cities.
  7. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    We were discussing this in the office earlier this morning. Switzerland, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Ireland and Canada all have higher suicide rates than the U.S. yet score higher on happiness index.
    Those two indicators seems contrary to each other.
  8. Stoney

    Stoney Well-Known Member

    Just speculating here, but that might have to do with different cultural views toward suicide. For example, I know that's the case in Japan, which has a similar parodox of simultaneously having high quality of life numbers and suicide rates, largely due to a different traditional and cultural view of suicide as an accepted means of atoning for sins/shame.

    A couple distinction between the countries atop the happiness chart from the United States is that they: 1) are far more secular culturally, and thus less likely to be influenced by christian teachings of suicide being a mortal sin and cowardly act; and 2) take a more liberal and permissive view toward issues like euthanasia. I'd guess those cultural factors might have something to do with it.

    Or maybe it's just the weather. Like I said, odd how the "happiest" countries are also the ones that have the darkest, dreariest and longest winters. Appears these studies don't give factors such as sunshine and beach time much weight in their methodology.
  9. I find it hard to believe that there are 10 countries in the world that have better access to bacon than the USA.
  10. da man

    da man Well-Known Member

    This way they don't have to get out and interact with other people as much, so they don't get pissed off at them.
  11. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    Different cultures can have different attitudes about suicide.
    I think most Americans associate suicide with unhappiness, which means different cultures can have different understandings of happiness and unhappiness.
    Perhaps people from one culture could be predisposed to satisfaction or dissatisfaction.
  12. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    Ben Bernanke spoke on the same topic a couple days ago....



    n particular, Bernanke also pointed to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development's "better life index." Launched last year, it turns to private citizens rather than economists or think tanks to measure how the world's 34 richest countries are faring based on benchmarks that fall into several areas – from housing to income to community to life satisfaction and work-life balance.

    According to the index, Americans today are generally happier than most of the industrialized countries. In the OECD's latest index released in May, the U.S. ranked third behind Australia and Norway as the happiest industrialized nation in the world.

    Americans have greater access to education and clean water than the average citizen living in an OECD country, according to the OECD's better life index. They spend less on housing and there's also a stronger sense of community – on average, 92% of people believe that they know someone they could turn to in a time of need, slightly higher than the OECD average of 91%. Americans are more willing to help: More than 65% surveyed said they'd helped a stranger in the last month, markedly higher than the OECD average of 47%. And we're still rich: Average U.S. household wealth is estimated at $102,075 – much higher than the OECD average of $36, 238 and the highest figure overall.
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