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Published: Friday April 25, 2014 MYT 3:05:00 PM
Updated: Friday April 25, 2014 MYT 6:17:36 PM

'The Mediterranean sucks': Moving to paradise doesn't always equal joy

Are you really as happy as you think you are? Research on European migrants who left the colder north for the warmer south have been found to be less happy than those who stayed. – Reuters

Are you really as happy as you think you are? Research on European migrants who left the colder north for the warmer south have been found to be less happy than those who stayed. – Reuters

Sun seekers who swapped the cold of northern Europe for the Mediterranean sunshine are less happy than those stayed behind.

A survey of more than 300 migrants from Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, who resettled in Mediterranean countries found that they were slightly less satisfied with life than a much larger sample of 56,000 people living in northern countries.

Sun lovers scored 7.3 out of 10 on average on a “happiness” scale, while stay-at-homes came in at an average of 7.5, according to the study released on April 23 by Dr David Bartram, a senior lecturer in the Department of Sociology at England’s University of Leicester.

“The key finding from the analysis is that people from northern Europe who migrated to southern Europe are less happy than those who stayed behind,” Bartram says.

The migrants had higher incomes than the average in their new country, and although some theories had predicted this would make them happier, the reverse proved to be the case. Bartram says it’s perhaps “migration itself can be disruptive to other dimensions of people’s lives – social ties, sense of belonging – possibly with consequences for their happiness.

“Perhaps any positive subjective consequences were outweighed by negative consequences arising from the more general disruptive effects of international migration on one’s life,” he says.

Bartram’s findings were based on a study of data collected between 2002 and 2010 by the European Social Survey, a cross-national survey conducted every two years. – Reuters

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle, People, People, Europe, Mediterranean, Sociology, study, European Social Survey, University of Leicester, David Bartram, unhappy, happy, migrants

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