Measuring Disparities in Global Wealth and Happiness


by daniel.scaduto on Apr 7, 2015 | Views: 51 | Score: -1

The purpose of these charts is to display the disparities that exist when discussing wealth and happiness in the world. Often in society, monetary wealth is seen as a primary indicator of success and happiness. However, according to statistics collected from the World Bank and the United Nations, many countries ranking in the upper echelons of wealth are severely lacking in happiness. These statistics also reveal that money does not necessarily ensure social equality. While some countries manage to balance wealth and happiness, others seem held back by individual greed.

GDP of Ten Richest Countries vs. Ten Happiest Countries

Rich Countries48511
Happy Countries7065

This chart displays the disparity in gross domestic product between the top ten richest countries (according to GDP) and the top ten happiest countries (according to the UN Happiness Index). Originally the chart was intended to compare individual GDPs side-by-side, but the program would not allow it. For reference, the United States maintains the highest GDP on this chart at 16,768,100 (in millions of US dollars). Iceland maintains the lowest GDP on this chart at 15,330 (in millions of US dollars). This chart is meant to solidify the point that, especially from a state perspective, money doesn't necessarily buy happiness.

Ten Richest Countries vs. Ten Happiest on UN Happy Index

Rich CountriesHappy Countries
US/Denmark7.087.69
China/Norway4.987.66
Japan/Switzerland6.067.65
Germany/Netherlands6.677.51
France/Canada6.767.48
UK/Sweden6.887.48
Brazil/Finland6.847.39
Italy/Austria6.027.37
Russia/Iceland5.467.36
India/AUS4.777.35
Country Pairs
Happiness Index

This graph pairs coordinate countries from the two list (richest and happiest) and compares them based on their UN Happiness Index numbers. Thus, the United States (number 1 in GDP) is paired with Denmark (number 1 in happiness). As you can see, every top ten richest country is outranked by a country with significantly lower Gross Domestic Products. Canada (ranked 11 in GDP) and Australia (ranked 12th in GDP), both rank in the top ten for happiness. The US ranks 14th in happiness. The least happy county in the top ten is India, with an index score of only 4.77, as compared to that of Denmark at 7.69.

Gini Index (Poverty) - Rich vs. Happy Countries

Rich Countries37.95
Happy Countries28.86

Next I compared social equality (or inequality) by using the Gini Index in terms for capital distribution for a country's population. The chart shows that the Richer countries are closer to 100 percent - this is not good. A score of 100 indicates perfect inequality, whereas a score of 0 indicates perfect equality. Of the top ten richest countries, only two maintain Gini index scores that fall within the range of the top ten happiest countries (Germany and France). The country with the worst Gini index on this survey was Brazil followed by the United States scoring 52.7 and 41.1 respectively. The best Gini index score was Sweden, with a score of 25.

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