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World’s Happiness Rate

by Noga Gur-Arieh

January 10, 2013 | 10:22 am

After rating the states of the world mostly on a financial basis, the Earth Institute at Columbia University published the first ever World Happiness Report, made at request of the UN. The report contains information on various happiness measurements collected to create a "life evaluation score". It provides a glance at how citizens of different countries grade their social status, political freedom, social networks, absence of corruption, mental and physical health, job security, family life, etc.

After gathering all the data into 158 pages, the researchers provided a list of the happiest nations, alongside with the list of the unhappiest nations. The happiest place on earth, according to this report, is Denmark. The unhappiest place is Togo in Africa. The United States is ranked 11, and Israel is in 14th place. I must say I was kind of surprised with the results. First of all, I was positive the happiest place on earth was Disneyland. Second of all, Israel's placement so close to the US and in a pretty high spot, was something new for me.

We are under an ongoing everlasting security threat; we have a high rate of car accidents; the average temperature is 100 Fahrenheit; we have disagreements with many governmental decisions, and most importantly- all we ever do is complain. The United States, on the other hand, is the land of opportunities. Whenever I visit, I feel like I am in a fairytale. All the great movie-dreams can be realized there, and you have M&M's stores.  The American life always appeared to us, Israelis, as idealistic, and far better than ours.  So either all those who answered the questions for the report were planning their next trip to the States, or we are actually happy, almost as much as you. Maybe living in such a small, warm place is the secret ingredient for happiness.

Apparently, my family and friends were as shocked as I was to read the list, but I must say, we all had a great day that day. I mean, it is always nice to read a firm fact that we are happy. I guess sometimes we need official research to tell us that.  I am also glad this report was made. As important as financial reports on the countries' incomes are, what really makes someplace a high quality place is how happy the people who live there are, not how much money they make. A happy place is usually a place of profit to the world. A person who enjoys life, will do his best to keep his or hers surroundings in good shape. Happy people will probably recycle, work out, make donations, and be patient with others.

I must admit that there is something to the point that happiness cannot be measured. Financial status is a valid fact, while the enjoyment of life cannot be calculated. But even if the numbers aren't accurate, and maybe everyone is slightly less happy than the numbers show- it doesn't make any real difference. From now on, this semi-accurate measurement will be the world's best measurement, and everything will be straightened by it. This measurement shows the world has really developed, and that humanity changes. We no longer appreciate money the most. We really believe that money can't buy love.  Now the only thing left to do is to take those results, and do some good. It is time to give a little "push" to the "unhappy" places, where poverty and famine dominate. It is time to take the western progression and give back, even by making the most unhappy place become slightly happier.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

My name is Noga Gur-Arieh, and I’m an Israeli Journalist, currently studying for my B.A degree in Media and Political Science, at Tel Aviv University.

I am very socially...

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