August 18, 2010


Who's the Happiest?: Who's happiest? In theory, a married born-again Christian orthodontist who lives in Costa Rica. (Anneli Rufus, 8/17/10, Daily Beast)

1. Republicans are 15 percent happier than Democrats.

In a Pew Research Center survey, 45 percent of Republicans described themselves as being very happy, compared with 30 and 29 percent of Democrats and independents, respectively. Republicans have been consistently happier than Democrats every single year since Pew began conducting these polls in 1972, and were 10 percent happier than Dems even during Jimmy Carter's term. [...]

6. Married people are 19 percent happier than unmarried people.

43 percent of married people describe themselves as very happy, compared to 24 percent of singles. [...]

8. Americans are 200 percent happier than Cameroonians.

With its Happy Planet Index, the New Economics Foundation tracks emotional, environmental, and other types of well-being worldwide. The USA's HPI score matches Australia's and Sweden's, but doubles those of Cameroon, Mali, and Burkina Faso. Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates are tied happinesswise, but both are three times happier than Tanzania. [...]

10. If a friend living within half a mile of you becomes happy, there's a 42 percent chance that you'll become happy too.

Moreover, your chances for happiness increase 15.3 percent if someone intimately involved with you becomes happy, 9.8 percent when a friend of a friend becomes happy, and 5.6 percent when a friend of a friend of a friend becomes happy. "Joy is contagious, as are most emotions. This is because we are wired for empathy," says James Baraz, coauthor of Awakening Joy: 10 Steps That Will Put You on the Road to Real Happiness. [...]

15. If you're an Evangelical Christian, there's a 99 percent chance you're very happy.

Or are you? The study that produced that dubious stat was conducted by the evangelically oriented Barna Group. According to a more credible Pew survey, Evangelicals are 10 percent happier than other Protestants, and folks of any faith who frequently attend religious services are happier than those who don't. Forty three percent of those attending services weekly or more call themselves very happy, compared to 31 percent of those who attend monthly and 26 percent of those who never attend services.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at August 18, 2010 6:26 AM
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