The survey, carried out by researchers at Gothenburg University, showed that people who voted for the Christian Democrat or Moderate parties were more likely to think of themselves as happy. This despite seventy years of almost unbroken Social Democratic rule in Sweden.
Happy people were also most likely to be young and be living with a partner or be married.
Sixty-two percent of rich, healthy people said they were happy. Perhaps unsurprisingly, being poor and unhealthy is not so much fun. Only 7 percent of people in this category said they were happy.
The researchers from the Society Opinion and Media (SOM) Institute at Gothenburg University, spoke to 3,000 randomly chosen people between the ages of 15 and 85.
“Happiness in Sweden is to be healthy, to be married or cohabiting, to believe in a god, to earn good money and to be young,” write report editors Sören Holmberg and Lennart Weibull.
The report said that people in small welfare states in northern Europe were generally happiest. Other surveys, it claimed, showed that people in countries such as the Netherlands, Ireland, Switzerland and the Nordic countries topped the happiness league.
“We must be doing something right,” said the authors, “or are we just lucky?”
But if the welfare state makes people happy, the survey appeared to suggest that Swedes don’t feel terribly grateful – support for both the public sector and the government was shown by the survey to be weak.