Singaporeans are the happiest people in Asia, but the overall position of the country has fallen four notches to the 26th position, according to the latest World Happiness Report. India has ranked 122nd, behind terror-riven Pakistan at 80th and poorest-of-poor Nepal (99th) in the global list. Norway was placed on the top spot, while Central African Republic was the least happiest country with a meagre score of 2.693.
Norway has a happiness score of about 7.537 while Singapore’s score is 6.572, which is about 0.068 points lower than the previous year’s score. The World Happiness Report is published by United Nations’ Sustainable Development Solutions Network. It measures each nation’s ‘subjective well-being’ by asking citizens to rate their life satisfaction on a 1 to 10 scale. The report also uses statistics like the country’s economic strength, life expectancy and perceived corruption to try and explain why one country may be happier than another.
In the report, Scandinavian countries dominated the top spots, with Norway, Denmark and Iceland heading up the rankings, while Finland was placed fifth and Sweden came in 10th. Switzerland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand and Australia rounded up the top 10.
However, countries in Africa and those hit by conflict all fared poorly. The bottom 10 comprised Yemen, South Sudan, Liberia, Guinea, Togo, Rwanda, Syria, Tanzania, Burundi and the Central African Republic.
In Asia, Singapore was at the top spot ahead of Thailand (32nd), Taiwan (33rd), Malaysia (42nd) and Japan (51st). Countries are ranked using three-year averages of data collected with the latest report, in its fifth edition, covering 2014-2016.
The United States fell one spot to 14th. The Report observes “USA is a story 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.”
Professor Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, predicted that President Donald Trump’s policies are likely to make things worse. He said, “Trump’s policies are all aimed at increasing inequality — tax cuts at the top, throwing people off the healthcare rolls, cutting Meals on Wheels in order to raise military spending. I think everything that has been proposed goes in the wrong direction.”
He added that the report’s aim is to is to provide another tool for governments, business and civil society to help their countries find a better way to well-being.
He said, “Happy countries are the ones that have a healthy balance of prosperity, as conventionally measured, and social capital, meaning a high degree of trust in a society, low inequality and confidence in government.”