Can Drugs Make You Happy?

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

A little mash-up of drugs use figures and world happiness ratings.

Books and Store

Our Beautiful Books - Information is Beautiful Information is Beautiful Store

Show Comments ( )

  • Alexander

    Haha, brilliant :D

  • traf

    what about russiaa poland holand thailand and other countries?

  • Ralph Lee

    You seem to have marked Myanmar (Burma) when you meant to highlight Thailand.

  • Eddie

    typical,,,, England and Wales,, always the same what about SCOTLAND/IRELAND, must have been a twat who devised this shit…….. booooooooooooooooooooooooo!

  • Pepijn

    Note how in the Netherlands (with the most liberal softdrugs policy in the world) less than 7% (5.4% to be exact; i looked it up in the original source) of people use illegal drugs (yes, softdrugs are illegal in the Netherlands), while in the US, with its War on Drugs, more than 7% do (namely 12.3%, more than twice as much).

  • Anne

    Your mention England and Wales but have the whole of the British Isles and Ireland coloured in!

  • martin

    What about Tasmania? its part of Australia you know?

  • HT

    Hmmm, and what if you looked at drug use that is not illegal?

  • Tom

    Sorry to be picky, but every time Australia is coloured you forgot to include Tasmania…

    • david

      sorry about this. I will not forget Tasmania again.

  • tickle

    ha. i know it’s nonsense but it looks like in saudi arabia people are happy without drugs and in france people are wasted but not happy.

  • mmarian

    lol @ dropping out Tasmania;), first thing i noticed too. ps, this site is awesome:) i really love it:))

  • tips

    COOL !!!

  • Anton

    Hmm, in all three instances you mention Venezuela, yet you only color it as blue (making it druggy, but not happy).

  • Jay

    Oh dear. You coloured in Burma/Myanmar (home of a repressive military dictatorship, constant censorship, civil war) instead of Thailand on the “happy” map.

    It really sticks out… I suggest you correct that…

  • cheech

    you forgot germany ;) and of course holland!

  • cheech

    more than 30% of the kids in germany are smoking pot. thats really bad. and they start drinking befor they are 10years old. germany are one of the biggest drug users in the world!

  • bbn

    The 6.8/10 Happiness rating is arbitrary. Your argument is invalid.

  • Marcel

    How about a correlation between each of Happiness and Drug use against GDP? Which of Drugs and GDP correlate best with happiness? How about Drugs and GDP together?

  • Cory

    Ha! PS This site is awesome. Recently came across it and am now subscribed in Google Reader.

  • Vooloc

    everyone that moves here to Tassie says they cant believe how much weed people smoke down here haha

  • Avis Thomas

    As you note, correlation does not show causality. It would be interesting to do a regression with wealth as an adjusting variable. It could be that more money makes you happier, and gives you the resources to buy drugs. This may partially “explain” the U.S. and Europe.

  • cheekoo

    I don’t believe my eyes u have missed out europe , we have the drug and sex capital of world there amsterdam and even people in india take drugs the only thing is it is not legal in india

  • Aung Kyaw

    How in the world can Burma, one of the most oppressed and impoverished countries in the world, be one of the happiest simultaneously? I think you highlighted the wrong country, instead of Thailand.

  • Monty

    You do say that it’s just a correlation, though the headline suggests otherwise. I’m probably just being too picky, since it seems pretty tongue in cheek, but it’s very likely that happiness and drug use are largely independent and both caused by a common factor, like income level, for example.

  • Saara

    I like what you do it’s brilliant. It’s just that some of the ‘happiest’ countries you have marked also have the highest suicide rates in the world.

  • gifts for men

    The person taking drugs, harms himself in long term but wot the firm needs is output. If a person taking drugs does it for more money, he in turn gets extra money for the extra benefit he gives to his firm. As far as the person taking drugs is happy with wot he does, the firm shouldn’t have a problem with him.

  • Horvath

    it is not about country name or border the idea of whole post is very good and funny.Wtf whit
    ” I don’t see X country…” or “My country uses drug to why didn’t you marked it??” ….and by the way you forgotten Romania… :P Its ok I don’t need a statistic, to use drug or to be funny…I do this thing voluntary.
    Peace an bless !!

  • Vince Whirlwind

    Why would anybody bother mentioning Wales & Scotland?

  • Jake Goode

    On the first map you have marked Cote D’Ivoire, but list Ghana at the bottom. This work is sloppy, which spoils the effect. The analysis of correlation is no such thing. Statistical correlation would compare all the populations with all their figures for drug use, not simply the ones who exceed your arbitrary 7% benchmark, and the matching number of happiest.

  • Paul Horn

    Yay — world maps minus boundary lines.

    Boo — parts of USA (like Alaska, Michigan’s upper peninsula, New England) and Canada (Newfoundland, Baffin Island, etc.) aren’t colored in when the rest of the countries are. Also called the “Tasmania Effect.”

    Lovely graphics, btw.

    • DDB9000

      I’m a bit late to this, but I also noticed the gaps in the ‘Druggiest’ map, in particular in the northeastern US. Not only is New England not coloured in, but also New York state, with the apparent exception of Long Island. Is someone saying by this graphic that the druggiest part of the Northeast doesn’t include most of NY and all of NYC? I find that a tad hard to believe. But Long Island being druggier than NYC, that’s probably true…

  • Copernicus

    What about the Northern Canadian islands? It hurts my head to see the mainland coloured but not them.

  • Phronemophile

    I think you may have a definitional problem: Since drug laws vary, “illegal drugs” doesn’t mean the same thing everywhere. This would, incidentally, explain the Netherlands’ low drug-use rating; if you included the use of drugs that are legal there but not, e.g., in the US, I suspect the rating would rise.

  • bob

    well, what about alaska, it was blue in the first slide, but not highlighted in the happy slide, and green in the final, does alaska not deserve happiness?

  • Michelle

    Definitely an issue defining where drugs are considered legal/ illegal.
    There is certainly a high use of opium in the middle east, south asia that is not represented here – not to say that they will show on the ‘happiness’ map!


  • Brian

    very “soft” analysis on this one. good for sparking controversy and debate, but not really useful in terms of driving meaningful conversation.

    i mean, you could also do a overlay of happiness with many things… like for instance birthrate or gdp… would the data suggest that countries with lower birthrates or higher gdp tend to be happier? i also like the suggestion above to overlay highest suicide rates…

    love the infographics visualization of data space though. fantastic stuff!

  • AnotherEndeavor

    correlation implies causation!!!! YAY lets all do drugs!

  • Nad

    The color marks are at Burma instead of Thailand on Happiest and Blissed Out graphs but the lists of countries below do not mention Burma.

  • Alison

    what about me?
    i’m happy and i’m straight edged i live in america, what the fuck does this make me??
    many of my friends here also don’t do drugs and we’re happier not doing them because it fucked up our lives.

  • Derek

    I think the correlation is pretty obvious. The happiest people will more likely have some extra money sitting around that they can spend on drugs. It would be pretty hard for starving people in the developing world to afford the luxury of a high now and again. So is happiness an indicator of drug use, or is drug use and indicator of happiness?

  • annon

    Correlation doesn’t imply causation

  • dan

    Absolutely stupid comparison… you are comparing developed countries to developing countries. America, Australia both affluent countries so naturally they will be happy because they have welfare systems that also look after the poor… they have the money to buy drugs. The developing countries use there money for food and produce the drugs… for america and australia to buy. If you need drugs to be happy I feel very sorry for you.