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The Immigration = Happiness Myth?

The Immigration = Happiness Myth?

Old Jan 10th 2006, 4:51 am
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Default The Immigration = Happiness Myth?

Many of us have fallen for it: "I'll be happier in <insert country here>"

An article by Veenhoven and Kalmlin in the Journal of Happiness Studies (2005) reports on international surveys throughout the 1990s in 90 countries. Some of the values of 'Level of life satisfaction' in the 1990s (mean, between 1-10), most of which are popular with Brits are as follows:

Malta- 8.0
Switzerland - 8.0
Denmark - 8.0
Ireland - 7.8
Canada - 7.6
Sweden - 7.6
Luxembourg - 7.6
Netherlands - 7.6
New Zealand - 7.4
USA - 7.4
Norway - 7.4
Australia - 7.3
Belgium - 7.3
Gt. Britain - 7.2
Germany - 7.1
Italy - 6.9
Singapore - 6.9
Portugal - 6.7
France - 6.6
Spain - 6.6
South Africa - 5.6
and many more...

The difference between UK and Australia is probably not statistically significant. Of course, everything is dependent on specific circumstances. But assuming for a moment that you are Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms Average Briton, is a move to the other side of the world worth a one percent increase in average life satisfaction assuming you instantly or ultimately became an average Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms Average Australian? When you factor in the loss of 'brotherhood'/'fraternity' (one of the key determinants of life satisfaction in this research) after immigration, it raises some interesting questions.

Last edited by ShozInOz; Jan 10th 2006 at 5:03 am.
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Old Jan 10th 2006, 12:45 pm
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Default Re: The Immigration = Happiness Myth?

I suppose it depends on the catalyst for emigration. A lot of people go for work, travel, or adventure, and eternal happiness may not be at the top of the emigration objectives list, rather an opportunity to be somewhere else [for an indefinate period of time].

On the other hand, if you have a perception that life will be better in your chosen country than your homeland, you could be in for a shock. Perception and reality don't always marry up too well!

Whether you find life satisfaction is probably more down to your mindset? If you find fault with everything in the UK, then chances are you will find fault with everything that's wrong in your new destination. If your mindset is to identify the positives, then doesn't that instantly make you a more content person?
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Old Jan 10th 2006, 5:54 pm
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Default Re: The Immigration = Happiness Myth?

These flipping "Place in the Sun" type shows have a LOT to answer for

I take my hat off to anyone moving from one country to another, which ever way they are doing it
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Old Jan 11th 2006, 1:22 am
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Default Re: The Immigration = Happiness Myth?

One of the most boring holidays I ever had was in Malta....
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Old Jan 12th 2006, 8:49 am
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Default Re: The Immigration = Happiness Myth?

Originally Posted by HiddenPaw
I suppose it depends on the catalyst for emigration. A lot of people go for work, travel, or adventure, and eternal happiness may not be at the top of the emigration objectives list, rather an opportunity to be somewhere else [for an indefinate period of time].

On the other hand, if you have a perception that life will be better in your chosen country than your homeland, you could be in for a shock. Perception and reality don't always marry up too well!

Whether you find life satisfaction is probably more down to your mindset? If you find fault with everything in the UK, then chances are you will find fault with everything that's wrong in your new destination. If your mindset is to identify the positives, then doesn't that instantly make you a more content person?
D'ya know HP.....I'm beginning to think this is the magic formula

The reality is that there is probably very little difference between countries. There is good and not so good about each. The difference seems to be contentment, reality of expectations and peace of mind.

The difficulty is that sometimes people have to try the variations to know what suits them best and maybe if one place doesn't suit...they either think the new country has failed them ......or that they have failed the new country.....when perhaps it's just some people feel more content in one place rather than another, hence they are more positive

One thing that puzzles me is...why do we expect to like somewhere just because we have moved there? OK...we have researched it, we have tried it..but does that mean you have to like it when you get there?

Ironically we buy things all the time that, after a while, we wonder why we bought it. What makes us think moving to another place in the world will be any different? Why do we feel it should be a perfect decision? Surely we don't know until we *do* it?

For some they realise contentment was back where they started, whereas for others [like me] we find what we're looking for.

Contentment is definitely a mindset

Last edited by phoenixinoz; Jan 12th 2006 at 9:35 am.
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Old Jan 12th 2006, 11:24 am
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Default Re: The Immigration = Happiness Myth?

Originally Posted by phoenixinoz

Ironically we buy things all the time that, after a while, we wonder why we bought it. What makes us think moving to another place in the world will be any different? Why do we feel it should be a perfect decision? Surely we don't know until we *do* it?
Well said Mrs Brissy Bayside

When I first went to Australia as a Working Holiday Maker then turned Spouse Visa then PR then Citizen, everything was good, but I got a little older and realised the things that I wanted in my life like family were back in the UK, I was able to move back so I did - end of story.

Didn't mean Australia was crap, by no means, has lots to offer, just I needed to move back to Blighty Both places have things I miss when I am not there.
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Old Jan 12th 2006, 11:49 am
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Default Re: The Immigration = Happiness Myth?

Originally Posted by merlotsmum
These flipping "Place in the Sun" type shows have a LOT to answer for
Too true Merlot ... too true. It's like these DIY shows that caused people to knock down retaining walls in their own homes because they saw it on the telly and figured it didn't look too hard. So what do they do? Call in another show, DIY SOS, to fix their mess. Come to think of it, maybe there's a show in there ... Expat SOS.
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Old Jan 13th 2006, 9:17 am
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Default Re: The Immigration = Happiness Myth?

Originally Posted by merlotsmum
Well said Mrs Brissy Bayside

When I first went to Australia as a Working Holiday Maker then turned Spouse Visa then PR then Citizen, everything was good, but I got a little older and realised the things that I wanted in my life like family were back in the UK, I was able to move back so I did - end of story.

Didn't mean Australia was crap, by no means, has lots to offer, just I needed to move back to Blighty Both places have things I miss when I am not there.


I would only qualify for "Miss Brissy Bayside" if I could get into the bleedin bikini, sash and tiara

As you say Merlot, sometimes you go through phases in life where one place suits you / your circumstances better at that time.....butas you say....doesn't mean things are forever

[tried to give you karma for your cheek but I have to spead mesen around ]

PS.Still PMSL re Miss Brissy Bayside
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Old Jan 13th 2006, 8:42 pm
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Default Re: The Immigration = Happiness Myth?

Originally Posted by phoenixinoz

The difficulty is that sometimes people have to try the variations to know what suits them best and maybe if one place doesn't suit...they either think the new country has failed them ......or that they have failed the new country.....when perhaps it's just some people feel more content in one place rather than another, hence they are more positive
Yeh, I know what you mean. If everything falls into place, and works the way you want it then it's easier to feel content. But a sole 'negative' in your life can easily change your disposition as a whole. Emigrating is hard, and not all the positives roll in at once - e.g you might have to compromise on your first job, or your location. (Look how bad a crappy job or period at work, can make you feel outside of work). It's easy for everything to get overshadowed by one bad thing, especially when added to existing stress. Perhaps there is no true formula, just a battle to get everything to fit into place and, like you say, if what fits is 'here' or 'there' then so be it.
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