Sunday 18 March 2018

Don't panic but we're slipping down the happy league

Happy Clare fans at the All-Ireland hurling final in Croke Park on Sunday
Happy Clare fans at the All-Ireland hurling final in Croke Park on Sunday
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

DON'T worry; be happy. And we are almost as carefree as residents in many other countries in the world, despite our climate, the State's finances and our penchant for complaining.

But it appears our chirpiness is slipping. The 2013 United Nations World Happiness Report, the second of its kind, places Ireland as the 18th happiest nation out of 156.

That's down from number 10 last year. But we're just behind the US, which is in 17th place, and ahead of the UK, which is at number 22.

We're also in better spirits than the French (25th) and the Germans (26th).

Considering there were 156 nations included in the study and we're about to face into yet another harsh Budget with high unemployment, high public debt and a crippling mortgage crisis, we still seem reasonably content.

The study, commissioned by the United Nations and published by the Earth Institute at Columbia University in New York, was devised to strengthen the case that well-being should be a component of how the world measures its economic and social development.

Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden were determined to be the world's cheeriest nations.

Last year's report covers 2010 to 2012, while the 2012 report covered the period from 2005 upwards.

As this included the pre-crash era, it may explain why we were in better spirits.

Spain, Italy and Greece – countries all hit hard by the economic crisis – have plummeted in the rankings since last year.

Spain fell from 22nd place to 38th, Italy dropped from 28th place to 45th, and Greece plummeted from 42 to 70.

Inhabitants of the sub-Saharan African countries ofRwanda, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Benin and Togo were the least happy.

The study looked at both people's current mood and their overall life satisfaction and assembled the international data from various surveys carried out to assess people's happiness.

Professor Jeffrey D Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, said more leaders were talking about the importance of well-being as a guide for their nations.

Irish Independent

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