The Happiest Countries

The OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) came up with a tool to measure subjective well-being. On their website, you can see the Better Life Index which compares 36 different countries according to 11 categories. The categories are:

Housing: rooms per person, basic facilities and cost.

Income: earning and financial assets.

Jobs: employment rate, personal earnings, job security.

Community: having friends or relatives in case of need.

Education: years in education, performance, attainment.

Environment: air pollution and water quality.

Civic engagement: governmental transparency and number of voters.

Health: life expectancy and self-reported health.

Life satisfaction: positive feelings and experiences.

Safety: assault and homicide rate.

Life-work balance: number of hours worked and time devoted to leisure and personal care.

I think this is a really interesting survey to analyse. Australia ranked higher than any other country when taking all items into consideration. However, when considering only Life Satisfaction, the item which has the closest relationship to happiness, Australia wasn’t even in the top 10. Mexico had one of the lowest ranks in general but was tenth in Life Satisfaction.

I’m going to go into detail about some specific countries for the benefit of some special readers =)

The United Kingdom scored specially high on safety, community and environment. Personally, I think these items are very important.

I’m sad to say that Brazil didn’t score well enough in any of the items. Income was actually the lowest of all 36 countries. The highest in Brazil was work-life balance. No wonder. If they can’t make any money, they should at least work less hehe.

Sweden scored really high, being second in general right after Australia. Environment was the highest which should make my friend Camila happy knowing how important this is to her. The lowest item was income, which I have to say, was quite surprising for me.

I think it’s worth mentioning that if you want to make money, the place to go is the United States. No surprises there.

Germany was pretty much in the middle in all items. Education seems to be one of its strong points.

Now, the best past: on the website you can arrange the tool to find which countries are the best according to what you think is more and less relevant. Therefore, you can find the perfect country for you =)

According to the tool, Norway would be the best for me. Not really in my plans though. They should probably include weather in this tool.

You can find yours here: OECD Better Life Index

What do you think about this survey? Are these items important? Would you include or exclude any items to measure well-being?

Other sources:

World’s Happiest Countries 2013

How do you measure a country’s happiness


4 thoughts on “The Happiest Countries

  1. My #1 country according to this is Sweden (hey, Camis!), followed by Norway, Switzerland, Canada and Australia. Only Turkey, Mexico and Chile would come after Brazil. It seems like I’m in the wrong place…hehe I agree with you, weather would be a very important item to be taken into consideration, as well as how immigrants are received in this country.

  2. Very nice, very interesting!

    I wasn´t surprised that Australia scored so high overall. It really is a well-developed country and living standards are high. Hanna, Erik´s younger sister, has been living there for a while with her boyfriend, and they have a pretty good life economically speaking. Note that she hasn´t even gone to college. On the other hand, I wasn´t suprised either when Australia scored low in “life satisfaction” and Mexico went the other way round. Do you remember that survey I mention some posts ago? That the happiest region in Brazil is Northeast, according to its own population? Money, safety, education is basic, of course, but doesn´t determine the general feeling of being happy. I don´t know.

    Brazil surely scored low in income, there´s so much inequality here. The power of purchase is too low. The relationship between earned income and prices is ridiculous. United Kingdom sounds right as well as Sweden. 🙂 Sweden really is a very environmentally concious country. I would say, and I think many would agree, that it is number one in this issue, they´ve been pioneers for a long time. When it comes to the States, I do agree that it ranks high in terms of earning money, but the gap between the rich and the poor is also very wide there. And there are more joining the ranks of the latter.

    Norway is great! I loved my season there. A small country with a small population, absurdly beautiful and rich in oil. I agree with you, though. They must take the weather into consideration. It matters a lot.

  3. HAHAHAHHAHA! Guess what? Just took the test. My number one country is also Sweden. So I am in the right place. Then there is Switzerland, Australia (which is a real option for me) and Norway.

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