The happiness factor

LONDON: Young people in developing nations are at least twice as likely to feel happy about their lives than their richer counterparts, a survey says. Indians are the happiest overall and Japanese the most miserable.

According to an MTV Networks International (MTVNI) global survey that covered more than 5,400 young people in 14 countries, only 43 per cent of the world’s 16- to 34-year-olds say they are happy with their lives.

MTVNI said this figure was dragged down by young people in developed world where fewer than 30 per cent of young people said they were happy with the way things were. Only eight per cent in Japan said they were happy.

Reasons for unhappiness across the developed world included a lack of optimism, concern over jobs and pressure to succeed. In developing countries a majority expected their lives to be more enjoyable in future, led by China with 84 per cent. “The happier young people of developing wo-ld are also the most religious,” it said.

The survey took six months to complete and resulted in the Wellbeing Index which compared the feelings of young people, based on their perceptions of how they feel about safety, where they fit into society and how they see their future.

Young people from Argentina and South Africa came joint top on the list of how happy they were at 75 per cent. The overall Wellbeing Index was more mixed between rich and poor. India came top followed by Sweden and Brazil came last.

“In developing countries, economic growth is on the go ... so you could see logically there should be optimism and a positive feeling,” Bill Roedy, president of MTVNI, said.

Developed countries were particularly pessimistic about globalisation, with 95 per cent of Germans thinking it is ruining their culture, while developing countries te-nded to be more recepti-ve to globalisation and more optimistic about their economic future and proud of their nationality.

The 14 countries surveyed were Argentina, Br-azil, China, Denmark, Fr-ance, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, Sweden, the UK and the US.