Are the Irish a happy nation?

Rachel Power

Ireland is the 16th happiest country in the world, with people stating that the sense of community,friends and family are all reasons for their happiness.

The survey, which is carried out by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network surveys 156 countries worldwide on how their citizens view their own personal happiness levels. From this, a report is formed which ranks each country following the feedback from the survey.

In 2019, Finland was voted as the happiest country in the world for the second year in a row. According to the World Happiness Report, Ireland was voted the 16th happiest country in the world, making us happier than Germany, France and the United States of America, but not as happy as the UK.

Nicholas Sanfey, a nursing student in UCD said that while friends and family make him happy, “the sense of community,” makes life nicer in Ireland.

“Being somewhere small and local is nice. I like that all my family are here for family lunches and stuff, and all my friends too,” he said.

The report examined various factors which appear to increase people’s happiness, such as being interested in politics, generosity, freedom of choice and being social.

The report found that being generous was a higher contributor to people’s happiness for multiple reasons. Giving to others makes people happier as they are free to choose how and when they wish to help someone, they feel connected to those they help whether it is through charity work or simply helping a friend as well as seeing how their help makes a difference increase happiness levels. 

Almost 70% of Irish people involved in the survey donated to a charity over the course of a month. Almost 40% of people surveyed worked with charities over a month to help others in need. 

Shauna Power stated that she believes a reason why the country is one of the happiest in the world is that “everyone is so friendly and welcoming,” which makes life easier.

Nicole Walshe said that while family and friends make her happy, there are some things like the weather that make her unhappy.

“It’s Ireland, it’s cold and raining and it’s never sunny,” she said.

Kathleen Turley said that “it’s great even just coming through the airport when you come home after a holiday, the welcome you get from people just automatically makes it feel like home.”

Despite being one of the richest countries in the world, the United States only just made it in the top twenty of the happiest countries as a result of the current opioid epidemic in the country, which experts say are leading to increasing levels of unhappiness and depression.

The Nordic countries are the happiest in the world apparently, as Iceland, Denmark and Norway follow Finland in the top five ranking countries, and Sweden places in the top ten.

Meanwhile, the three unhappiest countries in the world are said to be Syria, Botswana and Haiti.

The 2020 World Happiness Report will be released in the International Day of Happiness which is March 20.

Rachel Power

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