Greece Is Now the Unhappiest Nation in Europe

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.

Earlier this morning I was emailing with Stuart Staniford about America’s social fabric and whether it was declining. He noted that self-reported happiness hasn’t changed much over the past few decades, which might suggest that there hasn’t been much decline after all. But we both agreed that this doesn’t mean much since practically nothing seems to change happiness levels. They just rumble along forever at about the same level.

At least, that’s the case in most countries. But it turns out there are events short of war that can have a significant effect. Behold Greece:

As it happens, Greeks weren’t all that happy even before their financial collapse. Most European countries score consistently above six, and some score well above that. But if the Greeks were (contrary to stereotype) slightly disconsolate over the past few decades, they’ve been practically suicidal ever since the austerity madness prompted by the 2008 financial collapse. They aren’t quite as bad off as the dirt-poor, HIV-ravaged African nations that usually rank at the bottom of these lists, but as near as I can tell Greece is now the unhappiest nation in Europe.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.