January 13, 2008


Friday night I was watching 20/20 on ABC and they were doing a segment on happiness and how it was measured around the world. They had ranked a number of countries around the world, ranking them from the most happy or content to the least. A couple things you might find interesting from their research...

  • The happiest country in the world is Denmark where 62% of their income goes to taxes, their health care and educational system is paid for by the government, all occupations are considered fairly equal and community/relationships are encouraged by the government through paying for social activities.
  • The most unhappy country in Western Europe is Italy because the people do not trust their police or government due to uncontrolled corruption and deception.
  • The U.S. ranked as the 23rd happiest country in the world, where the "need" to "keep up with the Jones" causes people to constantly compare focusing on the things they aren't or don't have.
  • Iraq ranked as one of the most unhappy places in the world for obvious reasons.
  • Singapore was ranked the happiest country in Asia. This is a country where there are rules against gum usage and where breaking certain laws can result in a caning. It also has the highest capital punishment rate in the world.
  • There was not a direct correlation between poverty or wealth and an individual's happiness.
I thought 20/20 did a nice job of putting together a well researched report while at the same time emphasizing some important points that lead to happiness and contentment. Throughout their research they determined that happiness was not related to the amount of money we make but rather the relationships we have, the people we surround ourselves with and the community we are a part of. Seems to support Jesus' constant theme of loving our neighbors and looking out for the good of others. If I had to make a guess, I would guess that some of the happiest times in our lives have been when we were doing something for someone else. Interesting how much happiness can be found in bringing about the happiness of another.


alison said...

this sounds really interesting; i wish i had seen it. maybe i'll pick one of the top ten and go live there instead.