Monday, April 19, 2021

World Happiness Index 2021; We're Number One?

America's Rank: Incarceration, Happiness and Life Expectancy

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all [people] are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted . . .."
Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776

"The care of human life and happiness and not their destruction is the only legitimate object of good government."
Thomas Jefferson, to Maryland Republicans, 1809, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Memorial Edition, 1903-04

"Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of [themselves and their] family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond [their] control."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, United Nations, Article 25(1), 1948
A true patriot looks for ways to make America's democracy stronger, and then sets about trying to make it happen. That requires confronting and acknowledging where we're a few cars off the rails. It also requires a little modesty born of a fact-based examination of reality. A patriot knows America is great enough to, borrowing from Jack Nichiolson's line, "handle the truth."

So what about this "We're Number One!! We're Number One!!" business?

We are number one among all nations with some things. In defense spending we're not only number one, we spend approximately what is spent by the next 10 nations combined! [In order: China, India, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea and Brazil. See "Comparison: Government Defence Expenditure,"]

We're also number one in prison population (2016/2017). We have 2,153,600 prisoners -- roughly 600,000 more than number 2, China (1,561,086). But that's not a fair comparison; the better figure is prisoners per 100,000 population. By that standard we have 6 times more prisoners than China: 662.5 per 100,000 to China's 110.4 per 100,000. [See "Total Prison Population,"]

So how are we doing when it comes to the happiness of Americans, and the conditions that contribute to one's happiness, goals that were important to our founders -- and those who wrote the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? [Photo of one-year-old on her birthday, displaying enough happiness to put her well up on anyone's "happiness index."]

America ranks, not "number one!" in happiness, but nineteenth in the list below. How those nations rank in life expectancy is represented in the number following "LE."

1 - Finland - LE 19
2 - Denmark - LE 24
3 - Switzerland - LE 6
4 - Iceland - LE 8
5 - Netherlands - LE 25
6 - Norway - LE 5
7 - Sweden - LE 16
8 - Luxembourg - LE 23
9 - New Zealand - LE 22
10 - Austria - LE 27
11 - Australia - LE 11
12 - Israel - LE 10
13 - Germany - LE 29
14 - Canada - LE 20
15 - Ireland - LE 9
16 - Costa Rica - LE 32
17 - United Kingdom - LE 26
18 - Czech Republic - LE 44
19 - United States - LE 42

It's something to think about; for example, "What do those top 7 nations have that we don't -- and why?" And then? Then try to do something about it.

Sources: World Happiness Index 2021 (click on "Countries" to list countries alphabetically, and "World Happiness Ranking" to list countries by happiness), and World Happiness Report 2021 ("The World Happiness Report is a publication of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, powered by data from the Gallup World Poll and Lloyd’s Register Foundation, who provided access to the World Risk Poll. The 2021 Report includes data from the ICL-YouGov Behaviour Tracker as part of the COVID Data Hub from the Institute of Global Health Innovation."). The "Life Expectancy at Birth" rankings can be found HERE.

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