Study on pursuit of happiness


FORGET GNP figures and learned statistical comparisons of living standards. If you want to be happy, go and live in Iceland, say the authors of a report just published. The average inhabitant of the wintry isle enjoys 62 years of happiness in a lifetime.

Britain does not lag too far behind in the felicity stakes, scoring an average 58 happy years per person - on a par with the United States of America.

But the most miserable place in the world, according to researchers at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, is Bulgaria. There, joy is confined to a fleeting 32 years per person. Figures for Ireland were not included.

Prof Ruut Veenhoven and his team measured the quality of life in 48 countries by looking at how long and how happily people lived.

The survey, published in the latest edition of the European, found affluence and freedom were the most important factors affecting contentment levels.

But although people lived longer and were happier in wealthy countries than in poor ones, it was found money could buy only a certain level of happiness.

Once income per capita exceeded $10,000 - £6,250, - other factors became more important.