Denmark world's happiest nation: survey

July 30 | Updated: Jul 31 2006, 05:51am hrs
Danes are the worlds happiest people because they are healthy, rich and educated, and Burundians are the least happy, a survey of 178 countries by the UKs Leicester University found.

Switzerland is second, ahead of Austria and Iceland, according to the survey on the universitys website. The US ranks 23rd and the UK 41st. Russia ranked 167th, below Rwanda.

There is increasing political interest in using measures of happiness as a national indicator in conjunction with measures of wealth, said Adrian White, an analytic social psychologist at Leicester University and the author of the report, in a note accompanying the survey. The research showed that happiness was most closely correlated to health, wealth and education. As a result the four least happy countries are Burundi, Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Moldova, which has struggled to develop its economy since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The frustrations of modern life and the anxieties of the age seem to be much less significant compared to the health, financial and educational needs in other parts of the world, said White.

The research will be published in a psychology journal in September and presented at a conference later in the year, the university said.

The survey used data from institutions including the United Nations, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the World Health Organisation.

Its true that were very happy, Polish daily Dziennik, which published the report today, cited Mad Lauritzen from the Danish capital Copenhagen as saying. Most of all, we have a sense of social security, that if we fall ill, the system will ensure that we are cared for -- that's why we can relax.