The World’s Happiest Countries: Friday Happiness & Mappiness From London

January 21, 2011

5:41 pm

This week Forbes.com published The World’s Happiest Countries, which based their data on a prosperity study from the Legatum Institute in London. The nonpartisan think tank created a 2010 Prosperity Index which ranks 110 countries covering 90% of the global population. Norway topped the list along with their other Scandinavian neighbors. There’s lots of interesting factoids about why they achieved top status that you can read about here, but most interesting to Tech Cocktail is that:

nearly all the nations in the top 10 are adept at fostering entrepreneurship and opportunity. Legatum’s researchers concluded that a country’s ranking in this area is the clearest proxy of its overall ranking in the index. This means low business startup costs, lots of cellphones, plenty of secure Internet servers, a history of high R&D spending and the perception that working hard gets you ahead.

That’s not the only interesting happiness study coming out of London.

Those inquisitive chaps at the London School of Economics launched a free iPhone app called Mappiness last summer. Mappiness asks people to rate their daily happiness using their app, including some contextual information such as who you’re with, where you are and what you’re doing (and if it’s an outdoor area, you can include a photo). The data gets sent back (anonymously) to the mothership with location information and “noise-level” measurement.  The app creates a chart over time for the user, painting a bigger picture about when you are happiest, where you are happiest and who makes you happiest. In the aggregate, the data is used to help the group better understand how people’s happiness is affected by their local environment. According to the creators,

We want to better understand how people’s feelings are affected by features of their current environment—things like air pollution, noise, and green spaces.


Mappiness was created by George MacKerron and Susana Mourato of the Department of Geography & Environment and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). They’re goal is to have the results published in academic journals (that’s what academics do). They’re also sharing data on the website – for example, you can see where people are the happiest right now using this map view and when they are the happiest by viewing their “hedonimeters”.  Get mappiness from the App Store.

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Jen Consalvo is the Cofounder and COO of Tech.Co. She previously worked in product development for almost 13 years at AOL for audiences of millions. Follow her on Twitter at: @noreaster.

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