Young Italians are far happier than older ones

Young people in Italy are far happier than older people, EU figures released on Thursday show, with one Italian telling The Local it's because they are unaware of the country's problems.

Young Italians are far happier than older ones
Young Italians are far more satisfied with their lives than older people in Italy. Happiness photo: Shutterstock

Italians aged 16 to 24 are the happiest in the country, scoring an average 7.0 on a scale created by statistics agency Eurostat.

People were asked by the EU to rate their life satisfaction up to ten, in figures released today to mark the International Day of Happiness on March 20th.

According to the survey, Italians become more miserable as they age.

While those aged 25 to 49 score 6.8, the figure drops to 6.3 by the time the over-75s discuss their life satisfaction. This is despite the under-25s facing a crippling youth unemployment rate of 41.2 percent.

But Alessandro Maggio, manager of Fatamorgana gelateria in central Rome, said young Italians were simply unaware of their country's problems.

"Young Italians have their mobile phones and go out to play football…they're superficial," he said.

With an increasing number of Italians in their 20s living at home and being supported by their parents, Maggio said they are cushioned from the economic crisis. It's not until they go looking for work that they, like older Italians, realize the problems.

Happiness ultimately depends on the way people live their lives, said Maggio, and taking a moment to relax with an ice cream can certainly help.

Fatamorgana in Rome

Giorgia Giacobbi, who was having a picnic with friends outside the gelateria on Piazza degli Zingari, said it was hard to see signs of unhappiness among those in the square but that it was visible in daily Rome life.

"It's the way we live in Rome, the stress. The public transport that doesn't work, the traffic," she said, adding bureaucratic holdups to a list of problems in the Italian capital.

Another woman took a moment away from the picnic to reflect on the EU's findings. "When we eat, we're happy!" she said.

Happiest in northern Europe

The Italian trend of happy youngsters is reflected across the EU’s 28 countries, with Europeans aged 16 to 24 scoring an average 7.6 on the happiness chart.

Overall Europeans rank their own life satisfaction at 7.1, notably higher than Italy’s 6.7.

The happiest nations are Denmark, Finland and Sweden, with 8.0, although the most satisfied Europeans can be found in Austria, where under-25s score 8.4.

Bulgarians are by far the least happy, with just 4.8, while four nations – Cyprus, Greece, Hungary and Portugal – came a collective second with 6.2.

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