Happiest countries have high levels of internet freedom — study
It appears that countries with high levels of internet freedom also have a high happiness score, according to research by a European virtual private network service.
Using information from the World Bank, United Nations and the 2016 Freedom House annual internet study, Buffered VPN found that 7 of the top 15 countries for happiness also rank in the top 15 for internet freedom.
Iceland is the top-ranking country in both categories, and Canada isn’t far behind. Most of the top countries in both categories are highly developed.
Happiness Index and broadband speed
The countries with the fastest internet are also the happiest. Countries with the highest in both categories can be found in the upper right-hand corner. The countries with the best broadband speeds all have a happiness score of more than five.
Top countries in both categories aren’t limited to developed countries: Mexico, Colombia, and Azerbaijan each rank above the median in both categories.
Internet freedom and gender equality
The countries with the 10 highest internet freedom scores also rank in the top 15 for gender equality. (The gender equality ranking measures the difference between genders, so a lower number is more desirable.)
Once again, utopian Iceland leads both categories. The top countries for internet freedom are highly developed. However, countries 11-15 are all emerging economies. The same is true for countries 11-14 on the gender equality score.
Internet freedom and business
The top 10 countries for internet freedom also rank in the top 15 for GDP per capita. Three of the top five countries for GDP per capita are oil or natural gas-rich Gulf states. They also heavily censor their internet and limit free expression. Singapore is wealthy but also limits free expression to a degree.