• Scandinavian countries are home to Europe's happiest people according to new research (Photo: quietdangst)

EU survey sees happy Danes, grumpy Bulgarians

18.06.14 @ 19:12

  1. By Benjamin Fox
  2. Benjamin email

BRUSSELS - Scandinavians may be among Europe’s highest taxed, but they are also the happiest according to new research by the UK’s Office of National Statistics.

Nine out ten people in Denmark and Finland described themselves as being satisfied or happy with their life, compared to an EU average of 69 percent, in the Measuring National Well-being report published Wednesday (18 June).

At the oner end of the scale, just 38 percent of Bulgarian citizens are satisfied with their lot in life.

Bulgarians also recorded the lowest levels of satisfaction with their family or social life, and were the least likely to take part in sports. A mere 12 percent of Bulgarians told surveys that they had done physical exercise or played sports in the previous week, six times fewer than sports-mad Finns.

It is a similar story when asked whether they felt their life was worthwhile.

Danes topped the chart again with 91 percent agreeing, tied with the Netherlands. At the other end, 48 percent of Greeks, whose country has the highest unemployment rate across the EU, disagreed with the statement.

The research brings together 41 separate measures of ‘well-being’, including health, personal wealth and employment, as well as personal surroundings and people’s comfort where they live.

It is based on data from Eurostat, the European Quality of Life Survey, Eurobarometer, the Programme for International Students Assessment and the World Gallup Poll.

However, the story is slightly different when it comes to personal health.

Maltese and Swedish people enjoy 72 and 71 years respectively of their life in excellent health, nearly twenty years longer than their counterparts in Estonia and Slovakia. The average EU citizen will live for 61 years in good health.

But a sense of community and safety at home is less strong in Europe’s wealthier north. Only 58 percent of Germans felt a bond or friendship with their neighbours, compared to 80 percent in Cyprus and Romania.

Meanwhile, fewer than 50 percent of Greeks and Lithuanians felt safe to walk alone in their home town at night.