How should we measure the happiness of a country?

It’s tough enough to assess how happy one person is, let alone a whole country. There are some things we know aren’t correlated — money, objects — and others that show just part of the picture. Typically, researchers resort to questionnaires: how do you rate yourself on a scale from one to bliss?
But questionnaires are not always good measures. Recently, researchers showed that people have been lying — consistently — on the CDC’s survey about how many calories they consume. And “happiness” is even more vague and subjective. So Spanish researchers hit on another way to quantify how happy people are in a country: net migration.
It’s an attempt to use verifiable information (gathered from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development), assessing what people do rather than what they say. Their happiest country was Hong Kong, which had high marks in income, social development and economic, social and political environment. It makes a certain kind of sense: if people are happy in a country, they’ll probably stay there.
Mobility though is only a proxy — and not a perfectly accurate one — for happiness. Although the authors account for many variables, including where people went when they left, some people (and cultures) are still more prone to move about, and others may have less opportunity to do so. But it raises a question about happiness on a much more personal level: how often do you move around? Does the answer reflect your level of satisfaction with your life?

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How should we measure the happiness of a country?

It’s tough enough to assess how happy one person is, let alone a whole country. There are some things we know aren’t correlated — money, objects — and others that show just part of the picture. Typically, researchers resort to questionnaires: how do you rate yourself on a scale from one to bliss?
But questionnaires are not always good measures. Recently, researchers showed that people have been lying — consistently — on the CDC’s survey about how many calories they consume. And “happiness” is even more vague and subjective. So Spanish researchers hit on another way to quantify how happy people are in a country: net migration.
It’s an attempt to use verifiable information (gathered from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development), assessing what people do rather than what they say. Their happiest country was Hong Kong, which had high marks in income, social development and economic, social and political environment. It makes a certain kind of sense: if people are happy in a country, they’ll probably stay there.
Mobility though is only a proxy — and not a perfectly accurate one — for happiness. Although the authors account for many variables, including where people went when they left, some people (and cultures) are still more prone to move about, and others may have less opportunity to do so. But it raises a question about happiness on a much more personal level: how often do you move around? Does the answer reflect your level of satisfaction with your life?

Solution News Source

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