Getting older is not all doom and gloom, at least not if you’re a woman retiring in Denmark. A new study shows that retired, Danish women are the happiest people in Europe.
The study was carried out by Eurostat, according to Danmarks Radio. Retired Danish women reported a “happiness score” of 8.5 out of 10, according to The Economist.
It may be surprising that it is the older generation and not the youth that is the happiest. But there is a reason for this, according to Christian Bjørnskov, professor of national economy and a researcher specialising in happiness at Aarhus University in Denmark.
"Older people are much better at knowing what makes them happy and living according to that, instead of living according to what they think other people expect from them," Bjørnskov told Danmarks Radio.
Bjørnskov does not have a clear explanation, though, as to why it is women and not the men who are leading the happiness race. But among the explanations could be that women are better at recovering from the loss of family and friends. In general, women also have a larger social network. And finally, fewer women link their happiness to their jobs, Bjørnskov said.
Welfare state = happiness
Denmark may have some of the highest tax rates in the world, but at least it seems to pay off in terms of happiness, according to Eurostat. Denmark, Sweden and Finland shared first place for average happiness.
Factors such as health, economy and social relationships are important factors when measuring happiness. And the Danish welfare state may be helping out in this respect, according to Danmarks Radio.
"The Danish welfare state is very good at limiting the factors that lead to extreme unhappiness, Director of the Happiness Research Institute," Meik Wiking told Danmarks Radio.
Last year, Denmark, for the third year in a row, topped an Australian study comparing the pension systems of 25 different countries.