Want to Be Happy? Don’t Be Post-Soviet
In Bhutan a few years ago, they introduced the Gross National Happiness measure. Even more comprehensive, however, is the World Values Survey, chiefly administered by Ronald Inglehart at the University of Michigan. He and his team found some interesting information that just serves to reinforce what we already know here. Namely, that post-Soviet countries aren’t big on happiness. Here’s a look at the top ten (reported in 2008):
Zimbabwe (least happy)
Notice that of those 10 countries, eight of them are post-Soviet countries, including Russia, the most of the posts. If you take a look at the report from Inglehart, you find that Azerbaijan falls right in with those countries. Somehow Azerbaijan beat out Georgia but, based on experiences that some of our Azerbaijan PCVs have had when they traveled to Georgia, this probably has changed since that survey was conducted. I want to see how Azerbaijan would fare in such a survey today, after a few years of at least some improvements due to oil wealth. For you who are curious, Denmark was considered the happiest. But Bhutan got left out of the study. If you want to see how they’re doing, you can check on the Bhutanese here.
Update: Thanks to Movie-ing Maniac for keeping me honest. When I wrote post-Soviet, I meant countries that had gone through periods of Soviet-ideology rule. As he notes: “…specifically, Albania and Bulgaria were not part of the Soviet Union. They had socialist ideology, governmental system, and Soviet influence but they were never part of the Soviet Union.”