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No Worries, Mate: Australia Is Happiest Industrialized Nation


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.