By Haddon Libby

That is a question multinational market research firm Ipsos Group asked each year of 24,269 people in 31 countries at the end of last year.  Ipso is he 3rd largest market research firm in the world with 18,000 employees.

Across all nations surveyed, 7 in 10 people say that they are happy.  Netherlands have the highest happiness factor with 85% feeling happy.  Rounding out the top five were Mexico (83%), Indonesia (82%), India (82%) and Brazil (79%).  Hungary and South Korea were the only countries with more people unhappy at 52% each.  Here in the United States, 72% said they were happy.  Since its first study in 2011, Ipsos has seen happiness in the United States fall from 85% to its current number.

When we compare happiness by age, 20% of Milllenials say they are very happy versus Baby Boomers where only 13% feel that way.  GenX results were 15% and Gen Z 19%.  Baby boomers are those born between 1946 and 1964, Gen X is 1965 to 1980, Millennials 1981 to 2001 with Gen Z from 2002 on.


What constitutes happiness?

Those who are happy with their children or partner/spouse were the most satisfied.  Access to nature, education, friends and good relationships with parents and co-workers all feed into positive feelings.  Indonesia, Malaysia and the United States had the highest scores for their satisfaction with their children at 90% while Japan and India were the lowest at 75%.

Where are people happiest with their sex lives?

Three in four are satisfied in India, Mexico and Thailand.  Only 13% of Indians, 16% of Thai and 19% of Indonesians are not satisfied versus the 30-country average of 31%.  People in Japan have the lowest satisfaction rate at 37% while 52% of South Koreans are not satisfied.  Canada is the 3rd least satisfied country at 52% along with Italy.  Here in the United States, 56% are satisfied with one-third not satisfied.

The lowest scores related to the economy, politics and finances.

While 40% of respondents were happy with the economic situation in their country, 57% were not.  Argentina had the lowest marks at 16% followed by Hungary (19%), Japan (21%), and South Korea (25%).  In the United States one in three were happy while six in ten were not.  India was the happiest with an 81% happiness score with only 14% not satisfied.  Singapore (68%), Indonesia (61%) and Thailand (60%) were the next happiest countries.

This led to people’s satisfaction with their personal financial situations.  India ranked the highest at 83% (14% unhappy) followed by the Netherlands (72%), Indonesia (67%) and the UK (65%).  The US was split between happy and not happy.  Japan came in last with only 36% stating that they were satisfied versus 60% who were not.  Hungary and South Korea had similar scores.

What makes some of these answers’ peculiar is that the average income in India is just $2,400/year – the lowest of the 31 countries surveyed.  Netherlands is at $60,000, Indonesia $4,600, UK $49,000, US $76,000, Hungary $19,000, and South Korea $36,000.  The highest income level was in Monaco at $186K followed by Bermuda ($125K) and Norway ($95K).  Afghanistan was the lowest at just $380 with India having the lowest income levels of the 31 countries surveyed.

When it came to politics, India scored the highest at 79% satisfied vs. only 17% unhappy.  Singapore was next at 73% with a steep drop off from there with Thailand at 64%, Indonesia 57% and Australia 51%.  The United States was the 6th least satisfied and tied with Italy at 29% with two in three people unhappy.  Hungary was the weakest at 19% followed by Japan (23%), South Korea (24%), and Argentina (24%).

Looking at people’s living conditions, people from the UK were happies at 87% with South Korea being the only country under 50% at 47%.  The United States was at 75%.

Haddon Libby is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of RIA firm, Winslow Drake Investment Management.  For a complimentary review of your investments, please visit us at