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Who’s The Happiest One Of All?

This is one of those slightly hokey surveys that measures the happiness of nations. Done by the Gallup World Poll and written up for Forbes by Francesca Levy, its results are not entirely surprising.

Rich countries generally do better than others, although Saudi Arabia ranks 58th just ahead of Pakistan. Almost three times as many Saudis are “struggling” than “thriving.” On the other hand, the United Arab Emirates (which is a country made up of wealthy scions and resident ex-pats) and Kuwait register respectably 20th and 23rd. So how about Egypt? It shares the 115th ranking with Zimbabwe, India, Morocco, Syria and...Afghanistan! Just ahead of People’s China which, at 125, leads a cohort of Congo (Brazzaville), Sudan and Djibouti.

Where did the Palestinian Territories show up? At the 96th spot, ahead of Turkey 103. And I thought that the Palestinians were suffering, really suffering. Of course, suffering is also a subjective category. How could you not be suffering with Israel right next door but checking in at 8th spot, just in front of Australia and Switzerland, right behind Canada. Moreover, these numbers must also take into account the Israeli Arabs whose unhappy striving surely was not ignored.

The top five are Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands,  the paradigmatic welfare states. Then Costa Rica and New Zealand. And, yes, Canada and Israel. This is a wonderful world. I wish the U.S. were more fully in it.