Happiness Is … Living in the Right Country

Adrian G. White, a psychologist at Leicester University in the United Kingdom, has produced a world map of happiness by country which is called A Global Projection of Subjective Well-being (SWB) – see the map at that link.

The New Scientist explains:

According to the analysis, a country’s happiness is closely related to its wealth, along with the health and education levels of its people.

As White writes:

The search for happiness is not new and neither is academic interest in the topic. In 1776 the American Declaration of Independence argued for “certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” (The American Declaration of Independence, 1776, as cited in Hawke, 1964). As such, nations have been formed on the basis of the search for happiness, and this desire has been put on a par with the right to life and the right to freedom. In the U.K. interest in happiness was brought to widespread attention with the moral philosophy of Jeremy Bentham (1789) who argued that the purpose of politics should be to bring the greatest happiness to the greatest number of people.

Political interest in happiness has not diminished in modern times. A recent survey (Easton, 2006) found that 81% of the UK population agreed that the Government’s primary objective should be the creation of happiness not wealth. Earlier this year David Cameron, HM Leader of the Opposition, put happiness firmly on the political agenda by arguing that “It’s time we admitted that there’s more to life than money, and it’s time we focused not just on GDP, but on GWB – general well-being” (BBC, 2006).

Just what happiness is, however, may not be so clear….
See, for example:

Finding Happiness – Sunday Times Magazine
Authentic Happiness – Dr. Martin Seligman
The Happy Planet Index by the New Economics Foundation
Interesting there is the Bhutan Study of GNH (Gross National Happiness) using these nine domains as indicators:
living standard, health, education, eco-system diversity and resilience, cultural vitality and diversity, time use and balance, good governance, community vitality and psychological well-being“.
Happiness is mostly Genetic (at Forbes.com you get an ad screen here first)
Happiness is Back – Prospect Magazine
Happiness is the Best Medicine – Wired News
Happiness and Public Policy (blog by Will Wilkinson,
commented by Tyler Cohen in Marginal Revolution)
Happiness: the hippies were right all along – New Economist
Guidelines for National Accounts of Well-Being – Edward Diener
Happiness Quotes
The Happy Guy