WE have often been depicted as a happy-go-lucky nation, but a worldwide survey has found, perhaps unsurprisingly, that Ireland is running low on happiness and hope at the moment.
Around 45pc of Irish people quizzed reported that they were happy, but a quarter were very unhappy, the survey carried out amongst more than 52,000 people in 58 countries found.
The remaining 30pc of Irish people said they were neither happy nor unhappy.
This results in a 'net happiness' score for Ireland of 20pc. The global net-happiness score is 40pc, while the overall score for Western Europe is 56pc.
Ireland is scoring much lower than any of our Western European counterparts and only four countries in Eastern Europe score less than us: Romania, Serbia, Lithuania and Georgia.
Jimmy Larsen, from Red C Research, said those aged 35-54 were more unhappy than other age groups and women were less happy than men.
In comparison, around 68pc of Spanish people were happy. Other countries with similarly high levels of happiness included Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Switzerland. The highest net happiness level was found in the Netherlands at 77pc.
Surprisingly, in Iceland -- whose economy collapsed in 2007 -- around 73pc reported feeling happy. Only 7pc were unhappy.
The poll has been carried out by WIN-Gallup International on the eve of every new year since 1977.