For a country which can sometimes seem to outsiders as being especially ‘efficient’ when it comes to smiling, it might be a stretch to say that Germans are known for their upbeat attitude.
From the Berliner Schnauze to snobby Munich, there can be a perception that Germans have a ‘glass half empty’ view of things.
But a new nationwide survey, released just in time for Wednesday’s International Day of Happiness, has indicated that the majority of Germans believe themselves to be happy.
The survey found that 66 percent of Germans consider themselves to be happy. In total, 71 percent of respondents indicated that they thought their friends, family and colleagues were happy – a five percentage point increase over those who self reported.
A total of 2,026 people from across Germany were surveyed earlier this month.
The stereotypes of German gruffness do however prevail when respondents were asked whether they thought the general population was happy. Only 46 percent of people thought that the rest of the German population was happy – with 38 percent thinking the opposite.
The majority of Germans – over two thirds – feel happy. Image: DPA
Just over one quarter of respondents (27 percent) told pollsters they considered themselves to be unhappy. Seven percent of those polled preferred not to say.
No regional differences
The study also unearthed that most elusive of feelings: German optimism. Half of the respondents (49 percent) indicated they thought they would be similarly happy in five years time, while just under a third (28 percent) predicted they would be happier.
The poll also found no regional differences in the responses, with respondents in the former east and former west reporting the same level of happiness. There were also no gender differences in the responses, with men and women broadly indicating a similar degree of happiness.
While the findings may bode well ahead of Wednesday, the report indicated that other parts of German-speaking Europe also had a spring in their step.
Austrians reported an even higher level of happiness. In total, 81 percent of Austrians surveyed said they were happy – while two thirds (65 percent) thought that Austrians on the whole were happy.