Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Education makes Happiness

Despite what is said, the money is not enough to explain the happiness, or at least not just money. Data from the Global Wellbeing Surveys implemented by Gallup, allow the classification of countries according to Thriving, defined as the opinion of the inhabitants about their present and future life, that is, their satisfaction and expectations. Thus, the first three places in prosperity are occupied Denmark, Finland and Norway. In the closest, Costa Rica is in 6 th place, Panama at 12º, Brazil is 13º and Mexico 18º.

As can be seen, several developing countries are more advanced, while the U.S. is 14º and the UAE are at 20º. However, there is some relationship to the economy. Among the 25 least prosperous countries, twenty two are poor countries in Africa, and Haiti is sadly our continent.

As shown in the global survey by Gallup, the levels of satisfaction are highly correlated with the income of the survey respondents. Unfortunately, no data are available from Chile or other Latin-american countries, but in the U.S. is very interesting. A higher income, higher level of satisfaction:



But if you look at the data more carefully, you may notice that education plays a fundamental role in this equation. First, because the income of individuals are strongly associated with their years of schooling. Data for Chile are undeniable:
That is, more education equates to higher income and greater satisfaction with present life and better expectations about the future. But most importantly, education is a much better predictor of happiness than income.

Looking at the chart below we see how this works beautifully. Here are plotted the 25 countries with more "prosperity" and 25 with the worst. Chile added the red.

On the vertical axis are the results in the ranking of prosperity (41% of Chile) and the horizontal axis, the average years of schooling in each country. You can see very clearly that countries with higher rates of schooling are also those who have more satisfied citizens with better expectations.

It is interesting that Chile is a country with high rates of schooling (10.4 years, according to the Casen 2009). However qualifies rather low rate of happiness. Maybe that explains the low quality of our education, or simply that in this remote corner of the world, we are somewhat pessimistic, however.

You know. If you want to invest in their happiness, their children and the country, go crazy for money is not as safe a way as it is to invest in quality education for all.

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