Denmark is happiest place in the world, report says - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/28/06 London, England

Denmark is happiest place in the world, report says

It's the happiest country in the world while Burundi in Africa is the most unhappy, according to a new report by a British scientist released on Friday.

Adrian White, an analytical social psychologist at the University of Leicester in central England, based his study on data from 178 countries and 100 global studies from the likes of the United Nations and the World Health Organization.

"We're looking much more at whether you are satisfied with your life in general," White told Reuters. "Whether you are satisfied with your situation and environment."

The main factors that affected happiness were health provision, wealth and education, according to White who said his research had produced the "first world map of happiness."

Following behind Denmark came Switzerland, Austria, Iceland and the Bahamas.

At the bottom came the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe and Burundi. The United States came in at 23rd, Britain was in 41st place, Germany 35th and France 62nd.

Countries involved in conflicts, such as Iraq, were not included.

"Smaller countries tend to be a little happier because there is a stronger sense of collectivism and then you also have the aesthetic qualities of a country," White said.

"We were surprised to see countries in Asia scoring so low, with China 82nd, Japan 90th, and India 125th. These are countries that are thought as having a strong sense of collective identity which other researchers have associated with well-being."

He admitted collecting data based on well-being was not an exact science, but said the measures used were very reliable in predicting health and welfare outcomes.

Regular studies by academics across the globe using the same tests would allow researchers to better understand what factors affected happiness and White said he hoped every country in the future would carry out biannual checks.

Copyright 2006 Reuters. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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