World’s happiest nations are genetically similar to Denmark

In 2013, the United Nations’ World Happiness Report listed Denmark as the country with the highest levels of happiness. Now, a team from the UK has found that the closer a nation is to the genetic makeup of Denmark, the higher that country’s level of happiness is.

The research, from the University of Warwick’s Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE), was led by Dr. Eugenio Proto and Prof. Andrew Oswald. Using data on 131 countries, the team compiled evidence that was consistent with the hypothesis that specific countries may have a genetic advantage when it comes to well-being.

This data included international surveys, such as the Gallup World Poll, World Value Survey and the European Quality of Life Surveys. After linking cross-national data on genetic distance and well-being, Dr. Proto says they observed some surprising results.

In detail, he says that “the greater a nation’s genetic distance from Denmark, the lower the reported well-being of that nation.”


And these results remained after the team adjusted for other influences, such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP), culture, religion, strength of the welfare state and geography.

Read the full, original story: ‘Genetics may be key to a nation’s level of happiness’

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