Danish rural citizens the happiest in Europe

Short travel distances, close knit communities and personal freedom are key reasons

Danes living in rural areas are the most satisfied in Europe, according to a new survey by EU stats keeper Eurostat.

On a scale of 1-10, Danish people living in rural districts scored 8.2 points across 10 parameters of satisfaction, just ahead of Austria and Norway on 8.1 points.

Experts point to short travel distances, close-knit communities and personal freedom as the primary explanations for the results.

“Generally speaking, a sense of personal freedom and autonomy are really important to people’s satisfaction,” Christian Bjørnskov, a professor at the Department of Economics and Business Economics at Aarhus University, told KL union magazine Momentum.

“It’s particularly strong among people who choose to live in the country, and it helps explain why they are so satisfied. Living in the country is an active choice in Denmark, while in the south it’s more often a family endeavour, which doesn’t make it an active choice.”

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Big city blues
The survey also revealed that Danes living in rural areas are more satisfied than Danes residing in the big cities.

The Netherlands and Sweden completed the top five on the list, while Croatia, Serbia and Bulgaria were ranked as the least satisfied people living in rural areas in Europe.