The Happiest Country

in the World, 1



20/20 in touch handball
Earth pick (2) collect (2)
sand breeze vineyard
let go science handsome
pride patriotic brochure
brave fantasy social science
rank cuisine paradise
wealth decade thing (2)
poll pollster elaborate
globe founder questionnaire
zone garbage mine (2)
dreary research data base
stoic herring spectacular
snack sensible longevity
local good ole countryman
coach scale (3) hold his heard high
judge imagine spend/spent/spent
career hunt (2) apprentice
status spot (3) spread (2)
choice find out build/built/built
castle rare (2) carpenter
prince free (3) princess
royal related descendant
puppy discuss choose/chose/chosen
waste lineage opening line






News Presenter: “Hello, I’m Elizabeth Vargas, and this is 20/20 in Touch. And here’s a look at what we’re working on for this week’s 20/20.”

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When you imagine the happiest place on Earth, you might pick a spot with warm sand and soft breezes. A sun kissed vineyard perhaps or a Mediterranean village.

If asked to name the happiest country on earth, you might choose this one: land of the free, home of the brave.

But when you let go of patriotic pride and travel brochure fantasy, when you use social science to rank 178 nations, a paradise like Fiji ranks more than 50 spots below Iceland.

And for all their style and cuisine, France and Italy rank well below Canada.

And while we may be number one in wealth and power, when it comes to happiness, the good ole USA is number 23.

How do we know?

Well for the past decade, social scientists and pollsters have given elaborate questionnaires to hundreds of thousands of people around the globe.

Dan Butner: “The answer you get is not only how they feel right now but how they feel in their entire life.

Dan Butner is the founder of Blue Zones, a project that studies happiness and longevity around the world.

He says that if you mine all the data bases of universities and research centers, you’ll find that the happiest place on earth is . . . Denmark.

Cold, dreary, unspectacular, Denmark, where stoic locals wear sensible shoes and snack on herring sandwiches.

Sure they produce the occasional supermodel. But their most famous countryman is . . . Victor Borgan.

Can they really be the happiest . . . in the world?

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Dan Buetner: “They have a thing called yentalaw which essentially says that you’re no better than anybody else.

A garbage man can live in a middle-class neighborhood and hold his head high.”

Well let’s find a garbage man.

Journalist: “On a scale of one to ten, how happy are you?”
Garbage Man: “Eight.”

His name is Jan, and he say he took this job because he only has to work five hours in the morning — and then spends the rest of the day with family or coaching his daughter’s handball team (Danes really love handball).

But Jan also says he really loves being a garbage man.

And no one judges his choices of career.

Jan, Garbageman: “When we come and we say ‘hello’, that makes all people happy. Smile, it’s a good thing. The old ladies give us a little cup of coffee.

That’s happiness.”

Journalist: “You’re not just collecting garbage, you’re spreading happiness in this job.”

Jan: “If I’m happy, the people are happy.”

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Joseph is another example of Danish status. He is a carpenter’s apprentice.

Journalist: “What is it you enjoy?”
Joseph: “I think it’s about building something. When you work the whole day and you can see what you have done.”

On weekends like likes to fish and hunt; play with his new puppy.

Oh and that castle over there? That belongs to his family.

He also happens to be . . .a prince.

Journalist: “So who is this handsome gentleman?”
Joseph: “That’s my great-great-grandfather.”

Yes, Joseph is a descendant of the Danish King, related to the royal houses of France and Spain.

And again, he’s chosen to be a carpenter’s apprentice. And rarely discusses his lineage with anyone.

Journalist: “You couldn’t ask for a better opening line with the ladies than ‘I’m royalty.’ Don’t you every use that?”
Joseph: “No, never.”
Journalist: “Come on. That’s a waste.”
“If they found out themselves that’s better.”

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Happy. Most people think the happiest places are Pacific islands or Mediterranean countries like Spain and Greece. True or false? Why do they think that way?

Sad, Disappointed.
Are people surprised that Denmark is rated as the happiest country on Earth? Why are they surprised?

Scared, Afraid, Frightened.
The experts determine how happy people are by looking at statistics such as GDP, per capita GDP, income, crime, social services, corruption, etc. Is this right or wrong? How do the experts determine how happy people were?

Angry, Upset, Furious.
Are the Danes very class conscious? Do they view each other in terms of being poor, working-class, middle-class, upper-middle-class and rich?

Surprised, Shocked.
Do the garbage collectors fraternize (socialize) with local residents on their route? Are the residents cold to the garbage collectors? Do residents look down upon garbage men?

Lost, Confused, Bewildered.
Prince Joseph wants to be a traveling, goodwill dignitary or an investment banker. Is this correct or incorrect?

Tired, Exhausted.
Does he tell all the girls, “Hello beauties: I am a PRINCE!” Why doesn’t he do this?


Ecstatic, Thrilled.
How happy are people in your nation? Blissful, very happy, mostly happy, somewhat happy, in the middle, so-so, not very happy, sad or depressed?

Relaxed, Laid Back.
Is there a region or place in your country where people are very happy? Why are they happy?

Wonderful, Fantastic.
Who are the happiest people (in society)?

Energetic, Motivated. Do you know any really happy people? Who is the happiest person you know? Why are they so happy?

Enthusiastic, Passionate. What are the secrets to happiness? How can people become happier?

Enchanted, Enthrallment.
What might happen in the future?

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