While Denmark is still among the happiest countries in the world, it was overtaken by Finland, Netherlands and Norway in a new ‘Happiness Equality Index’ analysis from the Happiness Research Institute.
In the index, which claims to be the first to have measured the link between happiness and equality, Denmark garnered a score of 1.47, just slightly behind Norway (1.46) and Netherlands (1.42), but far from Finland (1.35).
“Usually, the Nordic countries, Switzerland and the Netherlands top the happiness rankings based on national averages. But one thing is the happiness average, another is how happiness is distributed,” Meik Wiking, the CEO of The Happiness Research Institute, mentioned in the report.
Denmark´s fourth place finish in the index is largely due to the nation’s rising inequality, which increased by 3.5 percent between 2002 and 2012. In Europe, only the United Kingdom saw a greater rise in inequality.
The report states that it is “striking that Denmark and Switzerland, the only two countries which have ranked first in the World Happiness Report, have seen an increase in the inequality of how happiness is distributed”.
Wiking said that by introducing the concept of well-being equality, his institute “hopes to improve the debate about equality and increase our understanding of the consequences of inequality in society”.
This is just the latest in a series of global reports and surveys to put Denmark’s status as the happiest country in the world in jeopardy.
In April, the UN’s World Happiness Report placed Denmark in third place. A study from the international WIN/Gallup poll in January also put Denmark behind Finland as the happiest country in Europe, and a Gallup and Healthways Global poll from September 2014 also put Denmark behind Panama and Costa Rica when it comes to overall well-being.
In March, however, Denmark topped a Eurostat study on life satisfaction released in conjunction with the International Day of Happiness.
Are the results from this “explosion in surveys that are trying to capture life satisfaction and happiness”, as the Happiness Research Institute writes, something that actually worries the Danes? We’re betting not. After all, the nation still sits among the very top of the polls and there are still plenty of things to be happy about in Denmark, as evidenced by this list of 27 reasons why Danes are the happiest people, no matter what the stats say.