The United Nations (UN) on World Happiness Day (March 20) released its World Happiness Report which ranked 156 nations according to how happy their citizens are. The report placed Pakistan on the 66th position making it the happiest country in South Asia. Pakistan was previously at the 67th position and has improved its ranking in the recent report. Meanwhile, India has slipped from the 140th to the 144th position, making it one of the most unhappy nations in the world.
The happiest nation in the world is Finland, who is receiving the honour for the third consecutive year. At number two and three is Denmark and Switzerland followed by Iceland at number four and Norway at number 5.
Countries are ranked on six key variables that support well-being including income, freedom, trust, healthy life expectancy, social support and generosity.
One of the authors of the report John Helliwell in a statement said, “The happiest countries are those ‘where people feel a sense of belonging’, where they trust and enjoy each other and their shared institutions. There is also more resilience, because shared trust reduces the burden of hardships, and thereby lessens the inequality of well-being.”
However, the impact of the lockdowns imposed by several countries due to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak has not been taken into account. Much of the data was collected in the years 2018 and 2019. The author of the report predicts that the lockdown conditions imposed on residents could, paradoxically, boost happiness in future.
In a first, the report also compared happiness and well-being in different cities. While Helsinki in Finland topped the list, Karachi was declared the happiest city of Pakistani and South Asia at number 117 followed by Lahore on the 122nd spot. The happiest cities in the world include Aarhus, Denmark (2), Wellington, New Zealand (3), Zurich, Switzerland (4), Copenhagen, Denmark (5) and Bergen, Norway (6).
On the other hand, Kabul is the least happy city followed by Sanaa in Yemen and Palestine’s Gaza.