Not a bad little country to live in
The Ipsos MRBI 50th anniversary poll shows that even in the wake of the economic crisis 89 per cent of Irish people are happy. The highest proportion of happiness is found in Munster and Connacht/Ulster, at 92 per cent, followed by 86 per cent of people in Dublin and 84 per cent in the rest of Leinster. Among the 42 per cent who are very happy, middle-class people are doing somewhat better, at 49 per cent, than the working class, at 37 per cent. At 45 per cent, women are happier than men, who rank at 38 per cent.
How do we manage to stay so happy? Well one reason is that 99 per cent of people think having a positive outlook is what is most important in life, the same priority we put on being healthy. It’s a sentiment I have heard repeated when I travel around the country talking to people.
It also helps that we have a high opinion of ourselves, with 89 per cent endorsing ourselves as welcoming, 89 per cent as proud to be Irish, 86 per cent as educated and 71 per cent as honest and hardworking.
With regard to stress and anxiety, 21 per cent describe themselves as relatively stress free, and more so men, at 25 per cent, than women, at 18 per cent. At 30 per cent, there are considerably more over-55s in this stress-free zone than in the 34-55 age group, which numbers 13 per cent, or even in the younger age group, at 22. The majority, 49 per cent, say they are “stressed and anxious occasionally but it is not a problem for me”, with more endorsing that view in Munster, at 53 per cent, and in Connacht/Ulster, at 55 per cent, than in Dublin and the rest of Leinster, which number 45 per cent and 46 per cent.
Farther up the scale, 24 per cent say they have a lot of stress although they can cope with it. There is more stress among the 34-55 age group, the “Squeezed Middle”, at 30 per cent than in younger groups, at 22 per cent, and older age groups, at 20 per cent. And it is a more common condition for Dubliners, at 35 per cent, than for those in the rest of Leinster, at 24 per cent, in Munster at 16 per cent or in Connacht/Ulster, at 20 per cent.
An astonishing 71 per cent declare themselves perfectly happy with their standard of living. This is particularly true for middle class people, at 78 per cent, as well as for 67 per cent of working-class people.