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Dublin: 7°C Tuesday 18 May 2021

So, exactly how happy is Ireland?

The Happiness Experiment says it has found the answer…

Image: Shutterstock

AFTER YESTERDAY’S BUDGET, it might be fair to say that not everyone in Ireland is feeling particularly chipper.

But an experiment by Trinity College Dublin’s school of psychology and Science Gallery has determined the country’s average level of happiness – and it’s pretty high indeed.

Rated on a 0 – 10 scale, the experiment found that Ireland’s happiness measures in at 6.8 on average, making it one of the world’s happiest countries, no less.

How happy?

But what does this happiness depend on? Well, the National Happiness Experiment – which launched on 24 May and was led by researchers Malcolm MacLachlan and Karen Hand – measured the moods of 3,309 participants over the course of six weeks to determine just that.

The men and women were tested by text message in collaboration with Vodafone, receiving and answering text messages that measured their happiness levels.

The results have been published in the book Happy Nation? which launches tonight at Science Gallery.

Some of its more notable findings include:

  • Satisfaction: The average life satisfaction was 6.7 (on a 0-10 scale).
  • Fairness: Fairness and accountability were closely linked to personal happiness, with those who felt that Ireland was a fair place and that ‘powerful people were kept in check by the media, law and public opinion’ were happier and more satisfied.
  • Health = happiness: Those who considered themselves to be quite healthy scored significantly higher in terms of happiness and life satisfaction.
  • In touch: A sense of being “in touch” is associated with greater happiness, especially in the under-20’s and over-60’s. People who felt positive about phone and text use were on average happier and more satisfied.
  • Weather happy or not: The changing weather during the six-week experiment did not  -yes, did not - significantly affect participants’ happiness levels.

Interestingly, according to the experiment it doesn’t matter what county we live in – where we live has no significant effect on our sense of happiness.

Speaking about the results, MacLachlan said:

One of the things we hope will come out of this project is an enthusiasm for more research around happiness, an annual national survey, and a task force drawing from all sectors of society to look at how we can make Ireland a happier, more prosperous, and more enjoyable place to live in.

Happy Nation? is on sale now and half of the proceeds will go towards supporting the work of St Vincent de Paul. Here are the authors of the book, Malcolm MacLachlan and Karen Hand, talking about their findings:

Read: Ireland boasts one of the lowest loneliness levels in Europe>

Read: How happy are you? Scientists want to know>

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