Malta rated happiest country in the World

Why true happiness is simply priceless
by Sinead Mclntyre
Daily Mail, Monday, Januray 9, 2006

Newspaper article

Throw away that lottery`ll never find true happiness in wealth. The secret to genuine contentment is a loving family. The proof is provided by an exhaustive global survey covering 100,000 people in 90 countries. In Britain, where people are healthier and wealthier than ever, happiness levels have barely risen in 30 years, it found. Researchers blame the combination of ever - lengthening working hours and the decline of the traditional family and community.

The U.K was ranked joint 21 st with Germany in a table showing levels of happiness in each nation, behind much poorer places such as Uruguay and Colombia, which is riven by civil war.

Professor Ruut Veenhoven, who carried out the research, said: ` I was surprised to see countries like Mexico ranking so highly. But Latin America is known for its warm family ties, the way of life and enjoyment of festivals, all of which contribute to people`s happiness. `Professor Veenhoven, editor of the Journal of Happiness Studies, has been analysing emotional well-being in countries around the world for decades. He monitors studies and collates masses of data to produce his own ` life satisfaction index.`

Subjects are rated on a happiness scale of 1 - 10 and an average is taken to create a league table.

Malta is the happiest place, with an index of 74, while Denmark, Switzerland and Colombia are joint second. Britian and Germany have an index rating of 64.

Happiness levels in Britian were found to have risen by just 1.36 per cent in the last 30 years.

Previous research has found that marriage is one of the biggest contributors to overall happiness.

In the UK, divorce rates have quadrupled since 1970 with around one in four marriages now breaking down.

More than four million Britons work over 48 hours a week and 40,000 children and adolescents are prescribed anti-depressants each year.

Yesterday Lord Layard, a former Labour adviser on unemployment, said: `Economic growth is important but we shouldn`t sacrifice other things which are equally important, for example human relationships.` ITV weather girl Sian Lloyd said her cheery outlook was down to a loving family and her relationship with Liberal Domocrat MP Lembit Opik, whom she is due to marry this year.

`We tend to put a positive spin on our forecasts, but I don`t think its the weather that makes Britons unhappy,` she said. `I put realtionships ahead of money every time.`


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