Iceland remains happy despite economic woes

handball-semifinalIcelanders are almost as happy now as they were before the economic crisis hit. This is the finding of a new survey carried out by the Directorate of Health on the effect of the economy on people’s health and their daily lives. The results will be formally announced today at a conference on the welfare of Icelandic children and opportunities in times of crisis.

At the very beginning of the crisis in October, the Directorate of Health conducted a survey on the health and mental state of Icelanders aged 18-80, mbl.is reports. 1,200 people were chosen from the national registry and around 60 percent of them decided to take part in the research, which was carried out again in January and June this summer.

“Although some are negative, the vast majority are feeling positive. The average happiness of Icelanders in the three recent surveys is 7.8 on a scale of 1-10 and the average was around 8 before the crisis. The 2003 European average was 7.2. We’re not all breaking down. We are still way over the European average,” says Dora Gudrun Gudmundsdottir, head of the Directorate of Health.

Author Eric Weiner famously named Iceland as the happiest place on earth last year in his book Geography of Bliss – a decision he has defended since the economic problems hit in October saying Icelanders thrive on adversity and that an element of struggle might actually enhance happiness.

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