Pakistan has jumped up 12 places from last year in the global happiness rankings, indicating a trend towards greater economic and social well-being.
According to the World Happiness Report 2017, released on Monday, Pakistan, with a score of 5.269, is ranked at 80 out of the 155 countries included in the report. The 2016 report had ranked Pakistan at 92, with a score of 5.132.
Pakistan is now the happiest nation in South Asia, 32 positions ahead of India, and also doing better than all its immediate neighbors, except China. Pakistan also ranks ahead of several countries that are much more technologically advanced, including Greece and South Africa.
World Happiness Report
The World Happiness Report has been published annually since 2012 by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and is prepared by leading professors and other authorities on the subject.
The idea of measuring how ‘happy’ the residents of a country are, was conceived in 2012 after the Prime Minister of Bhutan proposed a meeting of the UN General Assembly inviting member countries to ‘measure the happiness of their people and to use this to help guide their public policies.’
How Countries are Ranked
The rankings are created using the average of three years of surveys. Each country’s score is determined by the following six key variables that are deemed central to determining individuals’ happiness:
- 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
- Generosity (as measured by recent donations)
While these criteria for measuring happiness are not all-encompassing, they certainly signal a step away from nominal income figures alone that fail to take into account the huge disparity within countries.
The Happiest Nations
Norway has jumped three places from last year to emerge as the happiest country, with the top 5 spots all captured by European nations. USA is ranked at 14, and UK at 19. Israel ranks as the happiest country in Asia, followed by UAE and Singapore. The ten happiest nations, with their respective scores, are as follows.
- Norway (7.537)
- Denmark (7.522)
- Iceland (7.504)
- Switzerland (7.494)
- Finland (7.469)
- Netherlands (7.377)
- Canada (7.316)
- New Zealand (7.314)
- Australia (7.284)
- Sweden (7.284)
The Least Happy Nations
The bottom spots in the ranking belong to mainly African countries that have made very little or no progress lately. Also featuring in the bottom ten are countries torn by internal strife and war. These countries are as follows.
- Yemen (3.593)
- South Sudan (3.591)
- Liberia (3.533)
- Guinea (3.507)
- Togo (3.495)
- Rwanda (3.471)
- Syria (3.462)
- Tanzania (3.349)
- Burundi (2.905)
- Central African Republic (2.693)