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Health

Are Nordic countries as happy as they say?

Helsinki / Copenhagen / – Leaders of the welfare society, the Nordic countries, with Finland at the head, lead the latest global index of happiness developed by the United Nations, although among its citizens there are critical voices that question the results of this report.

 

 
Finland leads the table of the happiest countries for the second consecutive year with 7,769 points out of a maximum of ten, followed by Denmark, Norway and Iceland, while the fifth Nordic country, Sweden, occupies the seventh position.

When preparing the classification, the authors of the report took into account the personal perception of thousands of respondents regarding six variables which contribute to well-being: the level of income, social support, life expectancy, freedom, generosity and corruption.

“All the Nordic countries have very advanced levels of democracy, equality, wealth, education, absence of corruption and there is also great trust in others,” explains Marku Ojanen, psychology professor specialized in happiness and well-being.

But this Finnish expert is critical of the way to make the measurements: “The factors related to welfare increase our happiness and that’s why the Nordic countries are so high in the classification, although I think we aren’t as happy as the report says, taking into account all the problems we have.”

Are you happy right now?

According to Ojanen, the countries of Latin America, for example, are very happy in relation to their level of well-being and even surpass the Nordic ones in immediate happiness (answering the question are you happy right now?).

Similarly, many Finns, aware of their peculiar idiosyncrasies, see the UN report with some disbelief and question its results.

“Finns are depressed, prone to suicide, drowning sadness and pain in alcohol and, once drunk, we kill each other for absurd reasons,” said an anonymous reader in an internet forum after the index was published.

“It’s a paradox and it isn’t easy to understand that, despite having enough mental problems, we are so happy. But various studies show that people can be quite happy even if they have serious problems”, Ojanen adds.

In his opinion, the answer to Finnish “success” may lie in the fact that it is a “not very optimistic” nation which is very happy when its negative expectations are not met”.

From the Happiness Research Institute (HRI), an agency based in Copenhagen, is noted as one of the key factors which explain the Nordic domain in the Gini index, which measures the inequality of income to Nacional level.

“Finland, for example, has a much lower per capita income than the United States (which ranks 19th in the report). The difference is inequality. What the Nordic countries do very well is to redistribute wealth, “Alejandro Cencerrado, who works as a data analyst at that institute, told EFE.

However, the idyllic image of these countries offers some nuances, as shown in the study “In the shadow of happiness”, which reveals, for example, that in Denmark more than 12% of the population admit suffering or having problems, a percentage that is even higher among young people and has to do with, especially in them, mental problems such as stress. (April 2019, EFE/Practica Español)

News related in video (March 2017):


Comprehension

Lee la noticia y responde a las preguntas. (Read the news and answer the questions.)

Congratulations - you have completed Lee la noticia y responde a las preguntas. (Read the news and answer the questions.). You scored %%SCORE%% out of %%TOTAL%%. Your performance has been rated as %%RATING%%
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Question 1
The text talks about... (El texto habla de...)  
A
unos consejos para que las personas sean felices.
B
un informe que fue elaborado por Naciones Unidas sobre los niveles de felicidad.
C
un informe sobre los índices de felicidad que fue elaborado por Bruselas.
Question 2
According to this report, Nordic countries... (Según ese informe, los países nórdicos...)  
A
aparecen casi al final del listado de los países más felices.
B
aún no se encuentran entre los países más felices del mundo.
C
son los primeros que aparecen en el listado de los países más felices.
Question 3
According to the text, Ojanen... (En el texto, Ojanen...)    
A
está de acuerdo sobre cómo se han hecho las mediciones de esos niveles.
B
no cree que la forma de hacer esas mediciones haya sido la más adecuada.
C
siempre ha sostenido que los nórdicos son los más felices del mundo.
Question 4
When that report was made public... (Cuando ese informe se hizo público...)      
A
muchos finlandeses no creyeron que esos resultados se adecuasen con la realidad.
B
ningún nórdico puso en duda los resultados de ese estudio.
C
a nadie le resultó paradójico que los nórdicos fueran los más felices.
Question 5
In the video, Luis Gallardo says... (En el vídeo, Luis Gallardo afirma que...)
A
la economía no ayuda en nada para ser feliz.
B
la economía ayuda pero no es lo más importante.
C
la felicidad solo se alcanza si tienes mucho dinero.
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