Can happiness be employed as a primary indicator of the quality of human development? Yes, according to the World Happiness Report, which measures self-reported happiness. The World Happiness Report gathers research done by experts and is part of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations. The first report of its kind came out in 2012; this year sees the fourth installment of the World Happiness Report Update, which reveals that Denmark is the happiest country in the world. Burundi has the greatest happiness inequality.

 

157 countries across the world were gauged based on what the report has identified as seven ingredients of happiness. These are: longer life expectancy, increased social support, freedom to make life choices and generosity, reduced perceptions of corruption, higher gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, and less inequality of happiness. Looking through the list where the top ten happiest countries are highly developed and the ten least satisfied are less so, one may conclude that GDP plays the highest factor of determination. However, that assumption will be wrong as social support which is manifested in communities helping each other above personal wellbeing also plays an important role.

 

 

For example, Somalia, which has endured two decades of political turmoil, is the happiest country in the East African region. Ranking at 76 out of 157, Somalia is in the top four happiest African countries, beating more peaceful nations, such as Morocco, Tanzania, and Zambia. Other countries to make the top five are Algeria, Mauritius, Libya, and Morocco.  Somalia’s relatively high ranking has less to do with GDP and more to do with generosity, social support, and imagined happiness. On the other hand, economic and political turmoil greatly reduce happiness levels.

 

Experts behind the report argue that measuring happiness is more wholesome than measuring education, poverty, health, and income separately. Happiness apparently makes societies healthier and more efficient. It can also be used to measure progress, inequality, and growth in countries.

 

Did you know March 20 is World Happiness Day? How did you celebrate the day? Do you think the report’s findings are an accurate representation of your country? Let us know in a comment below or on Twitter @rafeeeeta