The Danes are often referred to as the happiest people on earth, but that could change in the near future as new analysis by Gallup has revealed that the country's percentage of happy people has dropped significantly over the past eight years.
The analysis reveals that since 2006, only 10 out of the 113 countries analysed have seen a greater drop in happiness than Denmark.
“Despite the Danes still evaluating their lives highly, they have not yet recovered from the dramatic drop in 2009 – and lately it's got even worse,” the study found.
Gallup's scale ranks happiness on a 0-10 scale according to how happy we feel today and how happy we expect to feel in five years time. Those who assess their current happiness as being over 7 and their happiness in five years time as over 8 are placed in the top bracket. In 2006, 83 percent of Danes were in the top bracket, compared to just 67 percent in 2014.
Could be surpassed
Christian Bjørnskov, a professor of economics at Aarhus University, contends that the drastic fall could be due to the Danes having a bleak outlook on the economic situation following the financial crisis.
“We are talking about a dramatic fall. Compared to other countries, Denmark's development looks really bad,” Bjørnskov told Politiken newspaper.
“The thing is that Denmark doesn't look like it's on its way out of the crisis. If you look at the Netherlands or Portugal, happiness is on the rise now, because those nations look like they're moving out of the crisis.”
Denmark remains top of the pile when it comes to happiness, but is only ahead of the other Nordic countries, Switzerland and the Netherlands by a fraction, so the Danes could find themselves deposed as the happiest nation in the world by next year.
However, the news will not surprise readers of the Happy Planet Index, which bases its happiness criteria on life expectancy, well-being and ecological footprint. According to its last index in 2012, Denmark ranked outside the top 100 of 151 countries assessed.