Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Greece are the three countries with the largest drops in happiness.
This has been a good week for well-being and happiness. Earlier we reported on the 10 best states for well-being as determined by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. Now comes the World Happiness Report 2016 from the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network, which ranks countries according to “the proper measure of social progress and the goal of public policy.”
By this measure, Denmark has been named the world’s happiest country, followed by Switzerland and Iceland. The United States ranks 13th. Rounding out the top 10 list of the happiest countries are:
· New Zealand
The three least-happy countries; Togo, Syria and Burundi.
The first World Happiness Report was published in April 2012, in support of the High Level Meeting at the United Nations on happiness and well-being. The new report was released in anticipation of the United Nation’s International Day of Happiness on March 20 (Take the Action for Happiness pledge: “I will try to create more happiness in the world around me”). It is comprised of survey responses from roughly 3,000 respondents in each of more than 150 countries. They were asked to evaluate their current lives on a ladder where 0 represents the worst possible life and 10, the best possible. Six other factors are also considered: 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).
“There is a lot of year-to-year consistency in the way people rate their lives in different countries,” the report states. This year’s ranked top 10 are the same countries that were top-ranked in last year’s World Happiness Report, although there has been some swapping of places on the chart. Denmark, for example, was ranked first in the 2013 report, third in last year’s report and is back in first.
How did other of the world’s most populous countries do on the list? Brazil is ranked at 17, Indonesia at 79, China at 83, and India at 118. The three countries with the largest drops in happiness were Saudi Arabia, Egyptt and Greece. The most improved: Nicaragua, Sierra Leone and Ecuador.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.