India ‘unhappiest’ in SAARC, Finland bags top spot, ousting Norway World Happiness Report released
NEW DELHI: India is unhappiest among its neighbors according to the annual World Happiness report released ahead of the International Day of Happiness on March 20. India dropped 11 places from its previous rank of 122 in the list of 156 countries and was behind the majority of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations, apart from war-ravaged Afghanistan, that stood at 145.
Among the eight SAARC nations, Pakistan was at 75, Bhutan at 97, Nepal at 101, Bangladesh at 115 while Sri Lanka was ranked 116. However, Maldives did not figure in the World Happiness Report.
India ranked 133rd in the global list of the happiest countries, coming after terror-driven Pakistan and poorest-of-poor Nepal, according to the UN sponsored World happiness Index Report, a copy of which is with The India Observer.
Finland, rose from fifth place last year to oust Norway from the top spot. The 2018 top-10, as ever dominated by the Nordics, are Finland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden and Australia.
Finland topped the list that combines economic, health and polling data compiled by economists that are averaged over three years from 2015 to 2017. Taking the harsh, dark winters in their stride, Finns said access to nature, safety, childcare, good schools and free healthcare were among the best things about in their country.
“I’ve joked with the other Americans that we are living the American dream here in Finland,” said Brianna Owens, who moved from the United States and is now a teacher in Espoo, Finland’s second biggest city with a population of around 280,000.
“I think everything in this society is set up for people to be successful, starting with university and transportation that works really well,” Owens said a Reuters report based on the same lines.
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 United States came in at 18th, down from 14th place last year. Britain was 19th and the United Arab Emirates 20th.
One chapter of the 170-page report is dedicated to emerging health problems such as obesity, depression and the opioid crisis, particularly in the United States where the prevalence of all three has grown faster than in most other countries. (Opiod Crisis: The rapid increase in the use of prescription and non-prescription opioid drugs in the United States and Canada beginning in the late 1990s and continuing throughout the first two decades of the 2000s)
The report which covers issues like Happiness and Migration, International Migration and World Happiness, Do International Migrants increase their and their families’ happiness by migrating, America’s Health Crisis and Migration Acceptance Index plus separate sections to analyze migration trends in China and Latin America.
According to the WHI large-scale international migration has increased greatly in recent years due to globalization. In 1990 there were in the world 153 million people living outside the country where they were born. By 2015 this number had risen to 244 million, of whom about 10% were refugees. So over the last quarter century international migrants increased by 90 million. In addition, on one estimate there are another 700 million people who would like to move between countries but haven’t yet done so.
(With agency inputs)