Monday, November 2, 2009

NZ world's 10th 'happiest' nation (NZPA)

New Zealand has ranked highly in an international study of wealth and happiness, but we are not quite as happy as the Aussies, according to a survey by a London-based think tank.

Nevertheless, New Zealanders are among the best in the world for volunteering to help others.

The survey, by the Legatum Institute, found Finland was the happiest nation followed by Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway.

New Zealand finished 10th on the institute's prosperity index, behind Australia, Canada, Holland, and the United States.

One hundred and four countries were assessed for the survey, which measured a country's prosperity based on 79 variables including material wealth and quality of life.

"The index finds that the most prosperous nations in the world are not necessarily those that have only a high GDP, but are those that also have happy, healthy and free citizens," the survey said.

Overall, 16 of the top 20 most prosperous countries were from Europe and North America.

The countries judged to be the least prosperous were Yemen, Sudan and Zimbabwe.

New Zealand performed averagely in economic fundamentals (27th out of 104) but was ranked first in social capital, the institute said.

"Trusting and willing to help strangers, close knit New Zealanders display the highest level of social capital of all countries surveyed.

"More than nine out of 10 New Zealanders believe they can rely on friends and family... the country has the second highest volunteering, with 44 percent having donated their time in the last year."

New Zealand also ranked well in entrepreneurship and innovation, democratic institutions, education, health and safety and security.

However, New Zealand was not a religious country, ranking 71st on the variable.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009 8:52:34 PM - Link