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Euros and Euro Happiness

Dec 11, 2008
What do you know? The European Union actually cares about the quality of life of all its people, and not just the enrichment of a tiny few at the expense of the rest. Eurofound, the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, was founded in 1975 “to contribute to the planning and design of better living and working conditions in Europe.” Eurofound researches these conditions across the 27 European Union countries (including three current candidate countries), tries to identify what works, and passes along that understanding to labor, employers, and governments.

Their Second European Quality of Life Survey (.pdf, 416Kb) has just released its first findings. The full report will be available in spring 2009. The survey sought data on general life satisfaction and happiness relating to family, work, and social life. Among interesting findings we may wish to take to heart:

  • Earning disparities are lowest in the countries that show the highest general satisfaction and happiness.
  • The country with the highest household income (Luxembourg, with over twice the average EU income), comes in sixth out of 27 on the scale of general satisfaction/happiness.
  • The country with the highest general satisfaction/happiness (Denmark) comes in ninth in household income.
A decent income is essential for happiness; however, people in countries with higher incomes and, especially those in countries with high income disparities, show markedly less life satisfaction and happiness than people in countries where household income is lower and more equalized across the population.

The happier populations are in countries, primarily in Scandinavia, where government of, by, and for the people is working. They should be models we seek to emulate in the hard times to come.
tags: People | Human Nature | Europe

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