World is a happier place than 2007: poll

Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:03pm EST
 
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Despite economic woes, wars, conflicts and natural disasters the world is a happier place today than it was four years ago and Indonesians, Indians and Mexicans seem to be the most contented people on the planet.

More than three-quarters of people around the globe who were questioned in an international poll said they were happy with their lives and nearly a quarter described themselves as very happy.

"The world is a happier place today and we can actually measure it because we have been tracking it," said John Wright, senior vice president of Ipsos Global, which has surveyed the happiness of more than 18,000 people in 24 countries since 2007.

But he added that expectations of why people are happy should be carefully weighed.

"It is not just about the economy and their well being. It is about a whole series of other factors that make them who they are today."

Brazil and Turkey rounded out the top five happiest nations, while Hungary, South Korea, Russia, Spain and Italy had the fewest number of happy people.

Perhaps proving that money can't buy happiness, residents of some of the world biggest economic powers, including the United States, Canada and Britain, fell in the middle of the happiness scale.

"There is a pattern that suggests that there are many other factors beyond the economy that make people happy, so it does provide one element but it is not the whole story," said Wright.

"Sometimes the greatest happiness is a cooked meal or a roof over your head," he explained. "Relationships remain the No. 1 reason around the world where people say they have invested happiness and maybe in those cultures family has a much greater degree of impact."   Continued...

 
<p>A sea gypsy smiles before she leaves to fish in her neighbourhood in Sulawesi Sea in Malaysia's state of Sabah on the Borneo island February 17, 2009. REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad</p>