Kenyans are a happy lot,Ranked position 33 on Gallup Poll Index
Forget about the economic hardships that you are facing, insecurity and the endemic corruption that is threatening our very existence. A new study says Kenyans are a very happy lot. On the entire African continent, Kenyans are the second happiest people after Rwanda, according to a Gallup poll.
Worldwide, Kenya ranks at position 33 on the Gallup Happiness Index 2014. Rwanda, at number 15 out of 143 countries, is the happiest country in Africa.
The results were released on Friday to coincide with the United Nations’ third annual International Day of Happiness on March 20.
The results, which covered about 1,000 adults in each of the 143 countries, for the first time showed the richest people are not necessarily the happiest.
In fact the top 10 happiest countries were all from Latin America, led by Paraguay, most of them relatively poor countries.
Kenya’s neighbour, Sudan, was ranked the unhappiest country in the world followed by Tunisia and Turkey.
Gallup, which has offices in Nairobi, interviewed about 1,000 Kenyans through telephone or face-to-face contact.
A significant number of those interviewed said they had experienced enjoyment; smiled or laughed, felt well rested and thought they were treated with respect the day before the poll was conducted.
What’s more, half of the participants said they had learned or done something interesting the day before the interview, according to the poll.
Although the survey shows the Rwandese smile and laugh more than Kenyans at position 57 and 90 respectively, Tanzanians and Ugandans may be described as a little bit not jolly.
Nigerians, despite their women being depicted in the Nollywood films as fond of crying at position 36, do laugh and smile a lot.
The study was perhaps the clearest indicator that money does not buy happiness. Rich countries, most of them Kenya’s donors, fared badly on the happiness index. These included China, France, Belgium, Japan, Germany, Israel and South Africa.
“Money isn’t everything in life,” said a statement from Gallup.
Guatemala is one of the poorest countries in the world, ranking 118th in terms of GDP, yet when it comes to positive emotions, it ties at second place.
“There is much to be learned from Latin America on this International Day of Happiness because while they aren’t the wealthiest people in the world, they are certainly among the happiest.”
The Gallup’s Positive Experience Index is designed to measure the things GDP was not intended to measure.
“It tries to capture things such as respect, laughing and smiling a lot, and learning or doing something interesting-all things that make a life worth living.”
But do not count money completely out. Research in the US, Gallup said, found that money significantly affects these emotions, but only to a point. After an individual makes $75,000 per year, money has much less of an effect on daily emotions.
The researchers were surprised that even in countries in the grip of armed conflict such as Afghanistan, many people said they smiled or laughed a lot the day before the interview.
That rich countries were not found to be the happiest surprised citizens of those regions as expressed in the UK Mail Online newspaper.
“All credit goes to Norway. Norway gives loads of money to these countries and now their countries are the happiest places to be! They should thank Norwegian funds! Wrote LiiIiikEaBau5 of Oslo, Norway, which tied with others at position 15.
Even more surprised and may be angry was Retired Old Guy of the UK who asked: “Why are some Central and South American countries so happy? Could it have anything to do with the smoking of a certain herb that grows readily in the tropics?”