Happiness Index

Social Progress a New Standard of National Wealth




French President Nicolas Sarkozy is encouraging countries to join in a “great revolution” in the way growth is tracked. Two Nobel economists recently completed a report recommending a shift from measuring progress solely based on a nation’s gross domestic product to accounting for the society’s well-being and sustainability. In effect, Sarkozy thinks that any government’s primary objective should be the greatest happiness of its citizens.

According to a World Values Survey by the University of Michigan Institute of Social Research, between 1981 and 2007, happiness and general life satisfaction has risen substantially in 40 of 52 countries tracked. Democratization and rising social tolerance are primarily responsible, followed by economic growth. “The results clearly show that the happiest societies are those that allow people the freedom to choose how to live their lives,” says survey director Ronald Inglehart.

Rising happiness and well-being are most notable in India, Ireland, Mexico, Puerto Rico and South Korea, with recent spikes in ex-communist countries, as well as Nigeria and Turkey. In 2007, Denmark ranked as the happiest nation, with the United States 16th.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Warming Planet Will Worsen Sleep

Rising temperatures could cause six additional nights of poor sleep per 100 people by 2050 and 14 by 2099, say scientists.

Exercise Benefits Cancer Survivors

Breast cancer survivors that regularly perform moderate-to-vigorous physical activity show improved attention, memory and multitasking abilities.

Eating Apples and Tomatoes Repairs Lungs

Fresh tomatoes and fruit, especially apples, help heal damaged lungs of ex-smokers and can slow the natural decline of lung function that typically occurs after age 30.

Steam Baths Ease Allergies

Thais with hay fever that soaked in half-hour steam baths three times a week reported fewer symptoms such as sneezing, nasal itching and congestion.

Bee Venom Is Powerful Lyme Disease Remedy

Bee venom reduces the Lyme disease bacterium more effectively than antibiotics, reports the Lyme Disease Research Group, in Connecticut.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags