I think that the quality of medical help, technological knowledge and educational opportunity however can be compared. Also time and man power hours worked, etc.
As for were they more or less happier than we? Well my grandfather in North Carolina worked just liked his ancestors had for ages. Now, I'm not rich but I have much more material goods than he did...still in this push and shove computer age, am I happier or have more peace of mind than folks like him? Probably we do not on the whole.