Market Research Shows Global Happines Not Directly Associated With Material Wealth

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21st December 2012 17:27 - Public Consultation

A recent poll by Gallup Inc reveals that Latin America has the happiest people.

Approximately 150,000 people were surveyed; the results showed seven of the world’s 10 countries with the most positive attitudes are in Latin America. Interestingly, many of these countries lie low on the Human Development Index which measures levels of income, life expectancy and education.

Guatemala, has high levels of positive emotions ranking seventh in the recent study undertaken by Gallup Inc. Luz Castillo, a surfing instructor from Guatemala remarked: “Despite all the problems we’re facing, we’re surrounded by natural beauty that lets us get away from it all.”

In addition, a survey completed last year by the same company asked approximately 1000 people in 148 countries if they felt well- rested; whether they were treated with respect; if they smiled and laughed a lot; learned or did something interesting and felt feelings of enjoyment. Panama and Paraguay scored highest with 85% of people answering yes to all five. Affluent countries such as France and Germany sit low on the list.

This research comes in light of a recent phenomenon called Happiness Economics which strives to improve government efficiency by including people’s perception of satisfaction in addition to traditional measures such as life expectancy.

A Better Life Index has also been created by The Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development which allows the public to compare countries based on quality of life as well as material well-being.

However, experts feel positive public perceptions from countries such as Guatemala allow governments to ignore the real problems and certain cultures tend to avoid negative statements regardless of how they really feel. 

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