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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Solomon still a true happy Isles

By Arthur Wate

Solomon Islanders are among the happiest people on earth, according to a new study.
But our neighbours, the ni-Vanuatu, are even happier. Clear winners, in fact.

The study, conducted by a British research body called the New Economics Foundation, ranks Vanuatu as the happiest country on the planet. Solomon Islands is ranked 20th.
But that’s not bad, considering that no less than 178 countries were assessed in the study.

Particularly as Solomon Islanders have faced civil war, riots and widespread arson, over recent times. Despite all that, our old name, the Happy Isles, still applies.

Western Samoa, though, beat us, chalking up 14th place. Other neighbours, including Australia and New Zealand, don’t do nearly as well as we do. Australia finished miserably. It could manage only 139th place. New Zealand did a little better, in the 94th spot.

Zimbabwe, though, was ranked as the unhappiest country of all. Surprisingly, perhaps, not one of the world’s rich western countries could find a place, even among the 50 happiest nations on the planet. Italy did best, in that group, at 66th.

However, the study was completed before Italy’s victory in the World Cup. A fresh study, conducted now, would probably see it move up a notch or two.

So how did the Foundation reach these conclusions, which some Solomon Islanders might doubt?

The index, on which it relied, measured life satisfaction, life expectancy, energy consumption and a measure the Foundation called environmental footprint. That is the amount of land required to sustain its population and absorb its energy consumption.

Solomon Islanders recorded an impressively high 6.9 rating on life satisfaction, only slightly below Vanuatu’s 7.4. The Foundation’s Happy Planet Index, an overall measure, gave Solomon Islands a score of 58.9, compared with Vanuatu’s chart topping 68.2.

However, even if the Foundation is right in its view that Australians are not nearly as happy as Solomon Islanders, the people of our big neighbour still have advantages.
They tend to live longer, for example. The study gives average life expectancy, in Solomon Islands, as 62.3 years. The comparable figure for Australia is 80.3 years.

Life still tends to be nasty, short and brutal in the three bottom ranking countries, though. Average life expectancy in AIDS ridden Swaziland, the which is second only to Zimbabwe, as the unhappiest nation on earth, is just 32.5 years. That is well short of the biblical average of three score years and ten, or 70 in modern language.
Life expectancy in Zimbabwe, itself, is not much better, at 36.9 years.

Life, for Zimbabweans these days, is miserable, as well as short, with a life satisfaction rating of just 3.3. That is, they are less than half as happy as either Solomon Islanders or the ni Vanuatu.

Source: Solomon Star


  • At 1:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

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