New Delhi: India is among the world’s least happy nations, and became even less happy in the last year, showed a global ranking which identified Norway as the wold’s happiest country.
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.
After ranking fourth for the last two years, Norway emerged at the top, displacing three-time topper Denmark for the first time. Denmark dropped to second place, followed by Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand and Australia and Sweden (which tied for ninth place), according to the latest World Happiness Report.
The US came in 14th place, dropping one place. Germany came in 16th place for the second time, while the United Kingdom moved up four spots to 19th place and Russia moved up seven spots to 49th place. Japan moved up two spots to 51st place, while China moved up four spots to 79th place.
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The bottom five countries on the list where people are the unhappiest are Burundi (154), Tanzania (153), Syria (152), Rwanda (151) and the Central African Republic (155).
The happiness rankings are based on six factors: 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 also points out that happiness is falling in the US, primarily due to social causes rather than economic. The four social variables all deteriorated—the US showed less social support, less sense of personal freedom, lower donations, and more perceived corruption of government and business.
The overwhelming importance of having a job for happiness is a major factor, and holds 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 favourably than those who are unemployed. The data also shows that rising unemployment negatively affects everyone, even those still employed.
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A deeper analysis of China shows 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. Subjective well-being is a comprehensive measure of individual well-being, taking account of the variety of economic and non-economic concerns and aspirations that determine people’s well-being. Current levels are still, on average, less than a quarter of a century ago.
The report has been edited by John F. Helliwell, Richard Layard, and Jeffrey Sachs, who believe that happiness is increasingly considered the proper measure of social progress and the goal of public policy.
Ranking of Happiness 2014-2016 (top 10)
8. New Zealand