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India least happy country in the world, says report

ANN | New Delhi |

India along with Cambodia and Burundi, is among the least happy countries in the Asian region. The fifth annual World Happiness Report puts India at the 122nd spot in a list of 155 countries, Cambodia at 129 and Burundi at 154th. 

The report says that work is one of the major factors affecting happiness. “Unemployment causes a major fall in happiness, and even for those in work the quality of work can cause major variations in happiness”, the report reads.

The report has put countries like Philippines, China, Pakistan and Indonesia in the category of happy countries in Asian region. And Singapore tops in Asia as the happiest country, followed by Thailand, Taiwan, Malaysia, Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong.

The World Happiness Report 2017, which ranks 155 countries by their happiness levels, was released this week at the United Nations on March 20, when the world celebrates International Day of Happiness.

The report, unveiled at the United Nations by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, is the fifth one to come out since 2012.

India ranks the lowest among its South Asian neighburs. Pakistan is at the 80th spot, while Bangladesh is at 110 and Nepal at the 99th spot.

According to the report, factors that determine happiness include economic variables (such as income and employment), social factors (like education and family life), and health (mental and physical)… In every country, physical health is also important, yet in no country is it more important than mental health.

The top 10 countries on the list rank high in terms of 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).

At the world level, Norway has jumped from 4th place in 2016 to 1st place this year, followed by Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland in a tightly packed bunch. “All of the top four countries rank highly on all the main factors found to support happiness: caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance. Their averages are so close that small changes can re-order the rankings from year to year”, the report says, adding, “Norway moves to the top of the ranking despite weaker oil prices.”

As the US fell to the 14th spot, the report says the US story is of reduced happiness. In 2007 the USA ranked 3rd among the OECD countries; in 2016 it came 19th. “The reasons are declining social support and increased corruption and it is these same factors that explain why the Nordic countries do so much better.”

(The Daily Star)