| 6.1°C Dublin

Irish people ranking among the happiest in Europe


Happy couple. Picture posed: Thinkstock

Happy couple. Picture posed: Thinkstock


Happy couple. Picture posed: Thinkstock

Irish people are among the happiest in the EU, especially when it comes to friends and family, according to a new report.

The EU life satisfaction average is 7.1, according to figures from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. Overall, Ireland scored 7.8, only behind Denmark, Finland and Sweden, who all scored 8. The least happy Europeans are Bulgarians, with a score of just 4.8. Despite years of recession, Irish people were above average in virtually every indicator that was measured.

For accommodation Ireland got a rating of 8 compared to an EU average of 7.5.

The country's overcrowding rate of just 2.8pc compares favourably with the EU average of 17.3pc and contrasts with Romania, which at 52.9pc had the highest overcrowding rate.

Ireland also scored well for green and recreational areas and for living environment, as urban population exposure to air pollution in the country is the third lowest in the EU after Finland and Estonia.

Irish people gain the most satisfaction from their "personal relationships" - with a high score of 8.6, the best in the EU.

With an overall average score of 7.8 on a scale from 0 to 10, people in the EU aged 16 and over are most satisfied with their personal relationships.

Satisfaction with personal relationships ranked first in almost all EU member states.

Exceptions were Belgium and Finland (where satisfaction with accommodation was higher rated than personal relationships), Bulgaria (satisfaction with accommodation, with job and with commuting time all came ahead of personal relationships) and Sweden (satisfaction with green and recreational areas).

It is notable that satisfaction with personal relationships was higher than life overall satisfaction in every EU member state.

In contrast, the area of lowest satisfaction for people living in the EU was their financial situation (an average of 6 among the EU population aged 16 and over). This is the case in all member states apart from Sweden, where time use ranked slightly lower than the financial situation. 'Financial situation' was where Ireland fared the worst, with a score of 5.5.

The financial situation accounted for the biggest differences between the member states, while they agreed most in job and time use satisfaction.

For the report Eurostat looked at different aspects of well-being and used country-specific data to evaluate them on a scale of 0 to 10 (10 being completely satisfied).

Respondents were aged 16 and over and data was gathered during 2013.

Walter Radermacher, director general of Eurostat, said: "The objective is to shed light on what could impact upon the quality of life, ranging from the educational level, the activity and health status to the family and financial situation."

Irish Independent