No Worries, Mate: Australia Is Happiest Industrialized Nation

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Growing up in Australia, I always knew it was true. And now The Wall Street Journal confirms it:

No worries, mate: Australia may be the world’s happiest industrialized nation by one reckoning, even as it grapples with rising inflation, pricey housing and worries that it is developing a two-track economy.

The resource-rich nation ranked highly in areas such as overall satisfaction, health, leisure time and community networks, according to a new survey released Wednesday by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development of the 34 nations that make up its membership. The index found that 75% of Australians were satisfied with their lives, above the U.S. average of 70% and well above the OECD’s average of 59%, while 83% expect things to be even better in five years from now.

Strangely enough, a few years back Danny Blanchflower and Andrew Oswald—perhaps unsurprisingly, a pair of Brits—wrote a paper, “Happiness and the Human Development Index: The Paradox of Australia,” arguing that Australia was surprisingly unhappy. But there really never was a paradox. Instead, the authors were simply over-interpreting two datapoints. To set the record straight, I joined forces with my good mate Andrew Leigh, who has gone on to become a politician and the smartest member of the Australian Parliament (but perhaps he would prefer a compliment). We compiled all the post-war comparisons, crunched the numbers and concluded that yes, Australia has consistently been ranked as one of the happiest countries in the world.

By jingo it’s good to hear it’s still true.

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  1. Dave says:

    Two track economy? One would be Outback Steak House. The second….GEICO commercials?

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  2. Shane says:

    Not at all surprised. Lived there for a little while and found it great :)

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  3. Darwin says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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    • Cal says:

      Well there’s an uninformed comment. Not many on the dole because not many – relative to the rest of the world – are unemployed. And anyone who actually has an idea knows that Australia is one of the harder working nations, and one reason why Australian workers are so valued abroad.

      As for happiness in Oz – as they say, yeah/nah. Lot’s to be happy about, good lifestyle, the weather’s good and most people have money in their pocket – and yes, the footy is great too. But it’s true I think about the two speed economy. Still well ahead of most of our western counterparts, but think the happiness quotient may be dinted a tad when things get tougher in the year ahead. And can never be too satisfied given the collection of drongoes in parliament (doubtless with the exception of Andrew Leigh) allegedly representing us (on both sides).

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  4. Blanchflower says:

    What a load of baloney. Over interpreting two data points isn’t right. Turns out suicide rates are high also in Australia as we noted in a later response

    According to the world database of happiness on an 11 point scale in 2008 australia scored 7.88. This is the latest and most comparable score available. Canada scored higher as did Sweden, Finland, Denmark , Iceland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland

    Just because you ozzies want it to be true doesn’t make it so.

    Australia isn’t anywhere near to being the happiest country in the world
    Danny blanchflower
    Sorry Justin
    Danny blanchflower

    Danny blanchflower

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  5. Warwick M says:

    Last time I checked, this article was referring to the OECD stating it to be true, not ‘Ozzys’ (a mythical creature whose characteristics merely represent the tendency of a certain culture to standardize and commercialize anything that moves; ‘G’day T-Shirts? Give me a break) wanting it to be true. Indeed the Australian immediately prior to my comment sincerely doubted the assertion. My own Australian-two-cents worth? I doubt the OECD is the most equipped body to analyze something so qualitative.

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  6. nanoshel says:

    Its good to here that Australia is happy country because of there industry. Industry could decide a nation’s condition that is good or not. Industry related to future’s development related products as Iron Oxide Nanopowder & Iron Oxide Nanoparticles and many more other related to Nanotechnology should be developed for more propriety.

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  7. 100salts says:

    Nice post over there. Its right that Australia is one of the happy country by its Industry . Many types of Industries are there as there Industrial chemical manufacturer, Industrial chemical supplier, Health related, Industrial goods related and more . All these and more make a country happy and wealthy. They provides big jobs so the country’s person get good payable jobs and get rich more.

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