The World Happiness Report, a list of nations ranked by the United Nations with regard to how happy the country is, was released yesterday pointing fingers to very serious concerns regarding the World today.
The report for 2017 states that Norway is the happiest country on earth, that America is getting increasingly sad and that it takes more than just money to be happy..!
India is among the world’s least happy nations as it ranked 122 out of 155 countries, four places below its previous rank of 118 and way behind its neighbors Pakistan and China - also one among the 10 countries showing steepest happiness decline.
The rankings are determined taking in six factors: the GDP per capita, healthy years of life expectancy, social support (as measured by having someone to count on in times of trouble), trust (as measured by a perceived absence of corruption in government and business), perceived freedom to make life decisions, and generosity (as measured by recent donations). The top 10 countries rank highly on all six factors.
The report is produced by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, a global initiative launched by the United Nations in 2012 and was edited by John F. Helliwell, Richard Layard, and Jeffrey Sachs.
“What works in the Nordic countries (Norway, Sweden etc.) is a sense of community and understanding in the common good,” said CEO of the Happiness Institute.
“It’s the human things that matter. If the riches make it harder to have a frequent and trustworthy relationship between people, is it worth it?” asked John Helliwell, the lead author of the report. “The material can stand in the way of the human.”
Another important conclusion from the report released by UN at an event celebrating International Day of Happiness was the deteriorating “Happiness Index” of the USA. It moved down one position than last year, to 14th.
Even though the report takes in both economic and social factors, in the case of US, happiness is falling, primarily due to social causes rather than economic. The four social variables considered, all deteriorated over the year—the US showed less social support, less sense of personal freedom, lower donations, and more perceived corruption of government and business.
"They are all aimed at increasing inequality – tax cuts at the top, throwing people off the healthcare rolls, cutting Meals on Wheels in order to raise military spending. I think everything that has been proposed goes in the wrong direction," said Mr. Sachs, another of the authors.
Another case is China which on deeper analysis showed that while its GDP multiplied over five-fold over the past quarter century, subjective well-being over the same period fell for 15 years before starting a recovery process.
The authors encouraged all nations to follow United Arab Emirates and other countries that have appointed Ministers of Happiness.
The report becomes further inclusive as it recognizes the little if the little role of money in keeping up the spirits of people and nation as a whole, which is why most of the bottom countries in the list are also in desperate poverty.
“But after a certain point extra money doesn’t buy extra happiness”, the authors together noted.
Central African Republic fell to last on the happiness list and is joined at the bottom by Burundi, Tanzania, Syria and Rwanda.
The report has some profound readings on an individualistic point of view – the importance of having a job for happiness and how it holds true across all of the world’s regions. When considering the world’s population as a whole, people with a job evaluate the quality of their lives much more favorably than those who are unemployed. The data also shows that rising unemployment negatively affects everyone, even those still employed.
Ranking of Happiness
- New Zealand