World you believe it, Bangladesh is the happiest nation in the world!
The United States, on the other hand, is a sad story: it ranks only
46th in the World Happiness Survey. That's way behind India, the fifth
happiest place in the world, and others including Ghana and Latvia,
Croatia and Estonia.
Research led by London School of Economics
professors into the link between personal spending power and the
perceived quality of life has conclusively proved that money can buy
everything but happiness. The study revealed that people in
Bangladesh,one of the poorest countries in the world, derive far more
happiness from their small incomes than, for example, the British (32nd on
list) do from their relatively large bank balances. In fact, people
in most rich countries including Austria, Netherlands, Switzerland,
Canada, Japan and others are much more unhappier than their poorer
counterparts in countries like the Dominican Republic and Armenia.
Most unfortunate, however, are Russians and people in some other parts
of the former Soviet Union. They are neither rich nor happy, indicates
the World Happiness Survey. Slovenia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Russia,
Ukraine, Belarus, Bulgaria and Moldova follow the United States in the
list to bring up the rear. The study shows that although the British
have twice as much money to spend in real terms compared with 40 years
ago, their perceived quality of life has not improved. Earlier surveys
revealed that many Britons thought money could bring happiness. The
new study shows that such a link still exists in poor countries because a
small increase in income can mean large improvements in lifestyle.
However, beyond a certain income-level that direct relationship breaks
down. According to the research, happiness in rich countries now is
far more dependent on close personal relationships, good health and job
satisfaction. "People in Britain are generally less happy than they
were ten years ago. Two-thirds would rather see the environment
improved than have more economic growth and personal spending money,"
said Robert Worcester, visiting professor of government at the LSE and
co-author of the study.
The researchers have concluded that although Britons are
rich compared with most other countries, many suffer from an emotional
poverty caused by consumerism and the breakdown of family life. "We
are being seduced by an economic juggernaut and our personal needs are
not being met," said Nic Marks, a social sciences researcher at Surrey
University who also worked on the report.