Israeli teens third happiest in the world, new study finds

Country’s adolescents also come in as world’s fifth angriest

Israeli teenagers (photo credit: Gershon Elinson/Flash90)
Israeli teenagers (photo credit: Gershon Elinson/Flash90)

Israeli adolescents are the third happiest in the world, according to a study to be released by the World Health Organization (WHO) later this month.

According to the findings of the Happiness Index, the country’s teens are, on the whole, happy campers — outranked only by those in Armenia and Macedonia. Israel tied for third place with Holland, Iceland and Spain.

The study, conducted among 4,758 Israeli teens in the sixth, eighth and tenth grades, found that female teens tend to be happier than their male counterparts — 51 percent of the girls reported they were happy compared to 47% of the boys. Israeli Arab youths were found to be happier than Jews — 55% and 47% respectively.

Not all is rosy, however. The survey also found that 48% of girls feel lonely, and 39% of boys do. Israeli teens also ranked fifth in the world for being the angriest — coming in behind Turkey, which ranked first, and then Greece, Romania, and Armenia.

Countries with the lowest rankings of happy teens are Turkey, Ukraine, Poland, Latvia, and Canada.

Dr. Yossi Harel-Fish, the WHO’s head Israeli researcher and leader of the International Research Program on Adolescent Well-Being and Health at Bar-Ilan University, said the seemingly confounding results on happiness and anger make sense. He explained that tension and anger have to do with an immediate “here and now” feeling — whereas happiness has more to do with general expectations about the future, Yedioth Ahronoth reported.

The WHO research was compiled over four years and comprised 34 countries. The youths were asked to rate their lives on a scale from 0 to 10, and 50% of the Israelis gave a rating of a 9 or a 10. Researchers in each country were allowed to give the teens additional questions.

A separate WHO report published in July found that Israeli teens between the ages of 11 and 15 spend more time on the Internet than any other youths around the world. Researchers said spending hours on the internet can have both positive and negative effects, and advised parents to moderate their children’s surfing of the web.

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