23rd Sep 2019

Bulgarians are the unhappiest Europeans

  • On average, Europeans rate their level of happiness a 7.5 out of 10 (Photo: EUobserver)

Bulgarians, the EU's newest members, are also by far the bloc's unhappiest citizens, a new EU survey showed on Wednesday (19 November).

Bulgarians gave their satisfaction with life a rank of five out of 10, and their happiness a rank of 5.8, which is well lower than the average rank given by Europeans of seven and 7.5, respectively.

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For their part, Romanians, who joined the EU together with Bulgarians in 2007, have a more positive outlook, putting their life satisfaction at 6.5 and their happiness at seven, according to the European Quality of Life Survey carried by Dublin-based EU research agency Eurofound.

The survey - which covers all 27 EU states, as well as Norway and EU candidates Turkey, Croatia and Macedonia - also ranks Nordic people among the happiest in Europe, with Danes leading the list, followed by Swedes and Finns.

Of the member states that joined the EU in 2004, only the Maltese have ranked themselves among the 10 happiest peoples in Europe, while Portuguese are the unhappiest of the 15 "old" EU countries, preceded by Italy and Greece.

All in all, the survey shows that citizens of the EU-15 and from Norway are still happier and more satisfied with their lives today than their counterparts who joined the EU in the last four years, or citizens from the three EU candidate countries.

Nordic respondents were also most optimistic about their future, although a majority of people had positive expectations as to what the future may bring in most of the countries.

On the other hand, in France, Italy, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Hungary and Slovakia, those optimistic about the future amounted to less than 50 percent of respondents.

According to Eurofound director Jorma Karppinen, the split in many of the responses between "old" and "new" EU states - or candidate countries - can be explained both by their different life experiences, and by their different life conditions.

"The differences in terms of life satisfaction and attitudes towards the future underline the significant inequalities in living conditions and in the experience of daily life for Europeans," Mr Karppinen stated.

"In particular, well-being in the former Communist countries varies greatly between social and demographic groups. There are marked disadvantages associated with low income, and older people are also more likely to report dissatisfaction with their situation," he added.

The survey was carried out from September 2007 to February 2008 and its full results are to be published in the spring of 2009.

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