Poll: The World Is Getting Happier

Are people in a better state of mind than they were before the economic crisis?

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Despite unrest in the Middle East, the euro debt crisis and everything else going on in the world, people are in a better state of mind than they were before the economic crisis, the Economist reports, citing an Ipsos poll. About 77% of 19,000 respondents across 24 countries described themselves as ‘happy,’ a three-point leap from 2007. The poll also found that Indonesia reported the highest levels of well-being, with 51% of people claiming to be “very happy.”

India and Mexico came in second and third. But a booming economy isn’t everything: The biggest drops in happiness were seen in large emerging markets like Brazil, the study found. In wealthier nations like Australia, which ranks third in a similar poll, about 28% of people said they were “very happy.” In Italy and Spain, only 13% and 11% reported happiness. Surprisingly, Japan rose six points, despite last year’s devastating triple disaster.

(MORE: Vienna, Austria Named World’s Best Place to Live)

It is important to note, however, that the study is based on self-reported measures of happiness and is therefore somewhat subjective. Still, Ipsos’ John Wright said the 22% increase in “very happy” people since 2007 is important.  When more than 75% of people agree on anything, he told the Economist, “You need to pay attention to intensity in the results.”

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