Latvians can't get no satisfaction

In 2022, people in the EU rated their overall life satisfaction on average at 7.1 points on a scale from 0 (very dissatisfied) to 10 (very satisfied) according to Eurostat data published January 15.

For 18 out of the 27 EU countries overall life satisfaction was rated above or the same as the EU average.

Latvia was not one of them.

The rating was highest in Austria (7.9), Finland, Poland and Romania (each at 7.7), Belgium and the Netherlands (both at 7.6) and lowest in Bulgaria (5.6), Germany (6.5), Greece (6.7) and Latvia and Croatia (both 6.8). 

Baltic neighbors Lithuania (7.1) and Estonia (7.2) were both a bit more satisfied than Latvia. 

However, it is not all doom and gloom. Latvians have at least managed to muster marginally more satisfaction than in 2021 when we had a score of 6.7 and back in 2013 we were a much more miserable 6.5.

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Source dataset: ilc_pw01

In all countries except Bulgaria, average ratings of life satisfaction were above 6, meaning that most people in the EU declared themselves satisfied rather than dissatisfied.

"Life satisfaction may be influenced by many factors such as age, level of education, family and financial situation, as well as the diversity of experiences, choices, priorities and values of an individual," said Eurostat.

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"EU citizens tended to be quite satisfied with their life in general, reporting an average of 7.1 points out of 10.0, and in all but one country, the average level was over 6 (i.e., satisfactory and above). There were, however, clear regional patterns: people in the northern, as well as western parts of the EU, tended to be more satisfied with their lives than people in the Baltic countries, the Mediterranean area and eastern parts of the EU. However, a convergence in life satisfaction could be noted between 2018 and 2022: slight increases of life satisfaction took place in countries with generally lower life satisfaction and the opposite in those countries with higher life satisfaction," concluded Eurostat.

"Income had an impact on life satisfaction. However, while the highest earners tended to be more satisfied with their lives than those with the lowest incomes, even people in the lowest income quintile tended to be more satisfied with their lives than not. Other demographic and socio-economic factors such as age, educational attainment, household type and degree of urbanisation also played a role in subjective wellbeing ratings. Educational attainment had a positive influence on life satisfaction, as did being part of a couple and having children. There was also a notable age-related pattern. Life satisfaction seemed to decrease with age in the EU, except in some of the countries reporting the highest overall life satisfaction: such as Denmark, Sweden, Ireland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Finland, where those aged 65 years and over were more satisfied than the younger generation.

"Regarding the overall changes in average subjective well-being between 2018 and 2022, the data showed larger decreases for people with higher levels of education and medium to high income levels as well as for the younger population (aged 16-29 years) when compared with the total surveyed population. The decreases were uniform among men and women," Eurostat added.

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