According to the United Nations’ World Happiness Index report, Pakistan has jumped up from the 75th rank last year to 67th this year. Like the previous year, it has ranked higher than its neighbor India, which is ranked at 140th, and other South Asian nations on the list.
The report was published to commemorate World Happiness Day; an event celebrated each year on 20th March as declared by the UN General Assembly in 2012 and it was released by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations.
The index conducts and ranks 156 countries across six key variables including those that look after well-being: income, freedom, trust, healthy life expectancy, social support and generosity. Whilst Pakistan has shown improvement from last year, jumping up 8 places but India has shown a fall in the index and has been ranked 140th in the world this year.
The Index was topped by Finland, a second year running while the war-ravaged South Sudan was at the bottom of the index. Finland, a country of 5.5 million people, renowned for their love of forests, lakes and saunas, were at the top of the study.
The rest of the top ten was made up by the other Nordic countries, as well as the Netherlands, Switzerland, Canada, New Zealand and Austria. The striking common feature amongst all the top countries is that most have stable societies apart from a good showing on all indicators; intriguingly happiness levels have only changed slightly within these countries since 2005.
The United Kingdom has reached 15th, a jump of four places, despite the furor brought by Brexit. On the other hand, the United States has seen a gradual downward trajectory in recent times and has dropped one spot to 19th place.
Jeffery Sachs, one of the report’s authors has stated, “This year´s report provides sobering evidence of how addictions are causing considerable unhappiness and depression in the US.”
South Sudan, the country unfortunately ranked at the bottom of the index, has 60 percent of people in the country facing food insecurity due to a bloody civil war which has claimed the lives of an estimated 400,000 people.
Yemen, Afghanistan and the Central African Republic, nations that have seen conflict are also near the bottom of the table. According to the report, this had led to a rise in negative feelings, “comprising worry, sadness and anger, especially marked in Asia and Africa, and more recently elsewhere.”
Interestingly, this year´s edition looked at how countries have performed in the happiness rankings since 2005.
Pakistan is one of the largest gainers in this period.