Their country may be in the middle of its worst economic crisis in decades, but the Irish are nevertheless one of the happiest people in Europe.
That’s according to a new survey conducted by Eurofound, a European Agency, which questioned 35,000 people across 31 European countries.
When asked to rate their happiness out of ten, the Irish averaged eight. Only the four Scandinavian countries are happier.
The glass is most certainly half-full for the Irish: nearly three-quarters of them said they were optimistic for the future. Only the Scandanavisn countries, the Netherlands and Belgium have a rosier outlook on the future. The Hungarians were the most pessimistic, followed by Poland.
The most unsatisfied Europeans are the Bulgarians, Macedonians and the Hungarians. The Irish are only less satisfied that the Scandinavian countries, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
Although the Irish are generally happy, their men might feel hard done by, when they learn that they work on average ten hours a week more than women, the highest gender gap in working hours in Europe.
The Irish are also a fairly healthy bunch, too – or at least they report themselves to be. They rated their health, out of ten, as 7.8, coming sixth. Only 3 percent of the Irish reported that their health was bad or very bad, well below the 9 percent European average.
Their favorable outlook on their health is matched by their favorable outlook on each other – the Irish are generally more likely than the European average to say that most people can be trusted. They are also considerably less likely to report high levels of religious tensions: only 18 percent say that Ireland has high levels of religious tensions compared with 29 percent across Europe.
The results of this study will come as a surprise to people who read recent reports about another study that found the Irish to be seriously pessimistic when it comes to the economy.
Market research company Behaviour Attitudes found that a majority of Irish adults believe the economic situation is the worst it has ever been in their lifetime. Most Irish also think it will take another two years before things get better. Most Americans, by contrast, expect their personal fiancés to improve in the next six months.