Generous people tend to be joyful people, and I think there is good evidence that the same is true of countries.


I wanted to test this idea, so I created this graph of countries by their giving percentage and their happiness index (based on a number of measures of satisfaction). Further right are more generous countries, and higher up are happier countries. This isn’t a perfect correlation, the surveys for giving (based on development assistance) and happiness (based on a UN survey/research project) are certainly not perfectly precise or complete, and correlation doesn’t prove causation. But still, this does seem to show that more generous countries are generally more joyful.

To note some of the significant countries on this graph, on the upper right, Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Norway, and Sweden) are distinctly the most generous countries in the world with aid, and also top the list of the happiest, most satisfied countries. On the bottom left there are some countries that still are struggling with developing, but there are also a few nations that stand out as being rather stingy despite being wealthy: Japan, Russia, South Korea, and Greece. And these countries have relatively low life satisfaction/happiness ratings (particularly in comparison to nations of similar wealth). It is also worth noting that the United States tends to have higher levels of private giving that aren’t recorded in this graph. While the US totals would still probably fall far short of the total giving of Scandinavians, it probably is closer to the middle-to-right in terms of giving than it appears on the graph (and more in line with our mid-to-upper level happiness).


One thought on “Generous Countries are Happier

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