Fox News: Denmark, Once Again, Takes Top Spot in World Happiness Report


In some lighter news, Denmark was declared the world’s happiest country. Burundi came in last.

What is it that makes Denmark so special?


I don’t know what makes Denmark special but I remember seeing this list before. Thanks.


My theory is that it’s their laid-back approach to everything. However I don’t know if this is so different from other Scandinavian countries. They all seem to prioritize hanging out with friends and family over ceaselessly striving at work (then again so do the Italians and French).


Maybe they are so happy because they are under the influence of drugs?


That’s a novel explanation.


Folks normally contend that it is because of the ‘Nordic’ economic-political model that the Scandinavians rank so highly in terms of a happy life. This unique system aims to ensure economic security and equality of opportunity within a capitalist framework, thereby resulting in a relatively narrower income divide between the rich/poor in society when compared with other developed countries:

The Nordic model (also called Nordic capitalism[1] or Nordic social democracy)[2][3] refers to the economic and social policies common to the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway, Iceland and Sweden). This includes a combination of free market capitalism with a comprehensive welfare state and collective bargaining at the national level.[4][5]

Although there are significant differences among the Nordic countries, they all share some common traits. These include support for a “universalist” welfare state aimed specifically at enhancing individual autonomy and promoting social mobility; a **corporatist system ** involving a tripartite arrangement where representatives of labor and employers negotiate wages and labor market policy mediated by the government;[6] and a commitment to widespread private ownership, free markets and free trade.[7]

Unlike the ‘left-wing’ pro-welfarism advocates in the US (such as Sanders) and far-right populists like Trump, who are both critical of ‘free trade’ and are in favour of protectionist tariffs, the Danes successfully combine a highly advanced welfare state with staunch support for free trade:

Denmark’s international trade policy fundamentally aims at allowing more free trade on a global basis…

Denmark is among the most active trade liberal and development friendly Member States of the European Union. Accordingly, Denmark works within the European Union to promote common positions along these lines to help integrate developing countries into the multilateral trading system. Simultaneously, Denmark fully respects the fact that trade policy of the EC almost exclusively lies within the purview of community competence.

Accordingly, Denmark works within the European Union to promote common positions along these lines to help integrate developing countries into the multilateral trading system. Simultaneously, Denmark fully respects the fact that trade policy of the EC almost exclusively lies within the purview of community competence.


The UK has a robust welfare state, why do they not seem (again sorry to generalize) happy or even gay (in the old-fashioned sense of light-hearted, merry)?


We have one of the most unequal distributions of income in the developed world, although the US is worse:

**UK Income Inequality

The UK has a very high level of income inequality compared to other developed countries.

People in the bottom 10% of the population have on average a net income of £8,468. The top 10% have net incomes almost ten times that (£79,042). As can be seen from the graph, income inequality is much starker at the top of the income scale, with the group with the 9th highest incomes making only 60% of the top 10%’s income**. Inequality is much higher amongst original income than net income with the poorest 10% having on average an original income of £3,738 whilst the top 10% have an original income over 27 times larger (£102,366)1…


Compared to other developed countries the UK has a very unequal distribution of income. Out of the 30 OECD countries in the LIS data set, the UK is the fifth most unequal, and within this data set it is the second most unequal in Europe.

Let me give you an illustrative example: in the London Borough of Islington, the super-wealthy magnates who commute to Canary Wharf to work as investment bankers, lawyers in multinational firms and in financial services live in newly gentrified luxury accommodation cheek-by-jowl with the most deprived living conditions in the entirety of the UK. These areas have the highest rate of clinical depression/suicide in the country and are inhabited by people on the minimum wage or in complete poverty.

The poor can walk down their street and peer across at the super-rich. Hardly going to make them happy. Add into the mix the fact that the present Tory government is cutting social spending at an almost unprecedented rate.

We are as far away from an egalitarian society in Britain as I can humanly imagine possible.


If they’re so happy, why don’t they want to share it with children? Their birth rate is abysmally low.


Fox news benchmarks are purely secular in nature and economic in large part. Only about 3% of the population actually attend any type of religious sevices, despite the fact that more than 2/3 of the population "belong to the State religion which is derived from Lutheranism. The largest of group of actively participating believers is Muslims at 3.8 %. Until the 1970’s it was illegal to practice any other religion other than the state sponsored religion, and up to today at least one member of the royal family must belong to the state religion, the Church of Denmark. It is basically a welfare state, and income is artificially equalized through the govt and the labor unions. Sounds just peachy, doesn’t it? The good news is at least 25% of the people polled believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God. :slight_smile:


If I can offer a counter-example, Japan is a very egalitarian country in the sense that a solid majority of the people there seem middle-class yet it doesn’t strike me as a very happy country - I wonder where they fell in the rankings.


It’s not a Fox News report in the sense that they did the study behind the story. I just picked Fox News as one out of many news outlets reporting on the report because it doesn’t have the distracting baggage of NPR, the BBC, and so on.


Ingeborg’s chocolates

Need I say more?


One of the articles reporting on this study mentioned that women fill 46% of the country’s CEO positions or something to that effect - perhaps that’s a partial answer to why they aren’t raising large families.

I think our (U.S.) replacement rate would also be low if we didn’t have a lot of immigration.


I’d have a passel of kids if we could afford it. I wonder what the average family size is? I’m beginning to wonder if it’s possible to have a big family when the economic system is like theirs? The usual narrative I hear is that more kids are unsustainable.



Their year round temperatures are mild…perhaps that makes for a temperate people?

I see 80 percent of them are Lutheran. Is there something about the Lutheran set-up that makes people very happy and satisfied?



You bring up an important detail. Perhaps there is a direct link regarding happiness and smaller families?





They rank 82 of 170 in suicide rate; pretty good, not great.


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