Norway happiest country in the World Happiness Report
Oslo: India ranked 122nd, behind terror-riven Pakistan and poorest-of-poor Nepal in the global list of the happiest countries, according to a global report released on Monday.
India ranked at 122 out of 155 countries in the World Happiness Report 2017, four notches below its previous rank of 118. The report was released on Monday at the United Nations at an event celebrating International Day of Happiness.
India was behind the majority of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) nations, apart from war-ravaged Afghanistan, that stood at 141.
Among the eight Saarc nations, Pakistan was at 80th position, Nepal stood at 99, Bhutan at 97, Bangladesh at 110 while Sri Lanka was at 120. However, Maldives did not figure in the World Happiness Report.
Norway moved from No. 4 to the top spot in the report’s rankings, which combine economic, health and polling data compiled by economists that are averaged over three years from 2014 to 2016. Norway edged past previous champ Denmark, which fell to second. Iceland, Switzerland and Finland round out the top 5.
Studying happiness may seem frivolous, but serious academics have long been calling for more testing about people’s emotional well-being, especially in the United States. In 2013, the National Academy of Sciences issued a report recommending that federal statistics and surveys, which normally deal with income, spending, health and housing, include a few extra questions on happiness because it would lead to better policy that affects people’s lives. The entire top ten were wealthier developed nations. Yet money is not the only ingredient in the recipe for happiness, the report said.
In fact, among the wealthier countries the differences in happiness levels had a lot to do with “differences in mental health, physical health and personal relationships: the biggest single source of misery is mental illness,” the report said.
“Income differences matter more in poorer countries, but even their mental illness is a major source of misery,” it added.
Another major country, China, has made major economic strides in recent years. But its people are not happier than 25 years ago, it found. The United States meanwhile slipped to the number 14 spot due to less social support and greater corruption; those very factors play into why Nordic countries fare better on this scale of smiles.
“What works in the Nordic countries is a sense of community and understanding in the common good,” said Meik Wiking, chief executive officer of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, who wasn’t part of the global scientific study that came out with the rankings.
The rankings are based on gross domestic product per person, healthy life expectancy with four factors from global surveys. In those surveys, people give scores from 1 to 10 on how much social support they feel they have if something goes wrong, their freedom to make their own life choices, their sense of how corrupt their society is and how generous they are.