Thursday, 3 July 2008

Skeptics are happier!!

A survey on happiness by the University of Michigan is a big talking point among bloggers at the moment (see here, here, and here).

The Danes are ranked in first place as the world’s happiest people.

Now what’s interesting is the surveyor’s claim that money does not make happiness. Now that may or not be true, but it’s also a safe bet to say that poverty certainly does not bring happiness either – none of the 10 most happy countries are poor (Puerto Ricans had a GDP per capita of US$19,600 in 2007; and although Colombia only had a GDP per capita of US$7,565 the country is still far from poor.

So what about religion? Shouldn’t that make people happier? I mean a guaranteed after-life should come as some comfort to the believers shouldn’t it? And as for the skeptics, well shouldn’t they be a tad unhappy knowing that they face a never-ending void of infinite blackness for the rest of eternity after they shuffle off their mortal coil?

Well to get the answers we have to know the most religious countries.

I’m not sure what they are, but the BBC did conduct a poll on religion in 10 specially chosen countries.

And the findings?

Nigeria, Indonesia, and India were the most religious countries.

But are any of them in the top 10 happiest countries? Er no.

But these three countries are also poor countries you say. So what about the world’s wealthiest country, and the bulwark of democratic values, the USA?

Well, Uncle Sam ranks in only 16th place. So what explains its relatively low rating? Well, I think you know as well as I do!

Anyway, here are the top 10 happiest countries according to the survey, with my skeptic rating!

Country / skeptic rating (max five stars)
· Denmark (*****)
· Puerto Rico (*)
· Colombia (*)
· Iceland (*****)
· N. Ireland (**)
· Ireland (**)
· Switzerland (****)
· Netherlands (****)
· Canada (****)
· Austria (****)