Americans Are the Wealthiest but Not the Happiest
It seems the old adage holds true: Money can’t buy happiness.
At least that’s according to the Better Life Index released Tuesday by the Paris-based think tank Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. The OECD ranked the United States No. 1 in terms of household wealth and 12th in life satisfaction out of 36 countries tracked.
Denmark—which ranked 16 in household wealth—took the prize for the happiest OECD nation, while Hungary—listed at 29 in terms of income—ranked the lowest.
Americans’ household wealth is about $102,000 on average, significantly higher than those in many other developed countries. Only Switzerland comes close, at about $95,000 on average.
[See the world’s most miserable countries.]
But there’s a caveat to that seemingly encouraging data point. While Americans make loads more money than many other nations, the U.S. also has one the largest gaps between the rich and poor, with the top 20 percent of the population earning nearly $82,000 a year while the bottom 20 percent get by on just $10,600.
Americans give up a lot to make all that money—workers put in long hours and take fewer vacations and less personal time, according to the Better Life Index. On average, American workers spend 1,778 hours a year in the office, higher than the OECD average, and devote less time to socializing with friends and family than workers in many other countries.