Younger Spaniards are happier than older Spaniards. | JAVIER CEBOLLADA

Spain has struggled during the last few years: a country ravaged by economic crisis, its unemployment levels consistently the second highest in the European Union, but the country’s woes have not made Spaniards unhappy, according to a new poll.

Conducted by Spain’s Centre for Sociological Research, the poll asked Spaniards to what extent they considered themselves happy or unhappy.

A huge proportion of Spaniards, 84 percent, consider themselves happy. Of those, 51 percent classed themselves as “completely happy”, the poll revealed.

On a scale of 0 (completely unhappy) to 10 (completely happy), the most common response was 8.

It could be down to the weather, but Spaniards happiness levels have risen since the CIS conducted their January poll, which found that 78.8 percent of Spaniards classed themselves as happy.

The study also questioned Spaniards on their leisure habits and found that they favour the simple pleasures in life: the favourite pastime of 71.3 percent of Spaniards is going for a stroll, while 70 percent enjoy watching television.

And, younger Spaniards are on average more satisfied with their lives than older Spaniards.

The survey showed that in Spain people become more miserable as they grow older, unlike Nordic countries where people tend to grow happier with age.

Spaniards aged between 16 and 24 years old rated their satisfaction with their lives on average 7.4 out of 10 while the oldest demographic surveyed, those over 75 years old, rated their lives on average 6.4.

Overall, Spaniards rated their life satisfaction to be at 6.9 – slightly lower than the European average of 7.1.

A Eurostat EU-wide survey on life satisfaction showed that in general, Nordic countries tended to be the happiest, with Sweden, Finland and Denmark all rating their satisfaction to be on average 8.0 out of 10. “Some people say that the 46th year of life is a global low point for happiness,“ Happiness Research Institute CEO Meik Wiking explained.

“One explanation for this could of course be that this is a time when we are pressured both from our career and by our children.

“Another explanation is that this might be the time of life when we must come to terms with the fact that we are just like everyone else – we’re not going to be big movie stars or football players and that might be hard to swallow for some.”
The least happy countries were Bulgaria, with an average life satisfaction of 4.8, just below Serbia at 4.9.

Wiking, whose institute studies happiness trends around the world, said life satisfaction has a direct impact on lifespan.

“We know there is a link between happiness and health, so happier people have a lower mortality rate. That means that over time those who are still alive will have a higher happiness average,” he said.

“It’s not that people become happier [as they age], it’s that the unhappy ones die,” he said.