Thursday, April 26th, 2012
If you are planning to move somewhere for a more relaxed lifestyle, Denmark, which is the happiest country in Europe according to a recent study could be a great choice. Scandinavian countries have ranked well in well-being studies in the last decades and people living in Denmark are now said to be the happiest in Europe. The country where people are the least happy turned out to be Portugal.
The study conducted by Cambridge University questioned over 40,000 people in 23 different countries. 41% of people living in Denmark declared themselves happy, which was followed by Switzerland
, Finland and Norway
. People declared themselves to be the least happy in Portugal, Slovakia, and Bulgaria. Other countries that tend to fare well for happiness are New Zealand
, the Netherlands and Belgium
. In general, people from Northern Europe tend to declare themselves the happiest, followed by Southern Europe, while Eastern Europeans are the least happy. The UK ranked around the middle for well-being, with a happiness score of 20%.
The survey looked at some key areas in life to draw conclusions about people's well-being, including optimism, competence, vitality and self-esteem. For example, the highest ranked countries for competence turned out to be Switzerland, Sweden
and Denmark, and Spain
got the highest score for self-esteem.
So what influences well-being in Denmark and other countries?
Whilst it's relatively easy to survey the happiest countries in Europe, it proves to be harder to explore all the potential factors that contribute to happiness. Most experts agree, however, that it's not just economic growth that counts. As Professor Felicia Huppert, who led the research at Cambridge University, comments: “The key message is that the UK Government, like many around the world, now recognises that economic measures such as gross domestic product do not provide adequate information about a society's progress.”
- Economic stability and potential do indeed count for the happiness of the population, with Denmark having a very high GDP per capita for example. Innovation is also an important factor.
- Work-life balance and less stress are also very important factors. Scandinavian countries, such as Denmark, Norway and Sweden can boast good work-life balance, with relatively low levels of workplace stress and shorter working hours.
- Low unemployment levels also contribute to happiness. While unemployment levels are comparably low in Northern Europe, they are rather high in Southern or Eastern Europe.
How To Spend A Sunday Afternoon In Copenhagen
Top Green Expat Cities
Canada Ranks First in Expat Quality of Life Survey