The United Nations World Happiness Report shows that while the US has become richer over the last two years, it has become less happy. As expected, countries experiencing hardships like Greece and Egypt showed the biggest drop in happiness. Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden ranked as the happiest countries while many African countries found themselves ranked among the world’s least happy countries.
The article reveals that while the overall political and economic state of a country has a large impact on the happiness of the populous, factors other than GDP also have a significant effect. The study recommends countries invest in mental health and public services as well as economic growth to create happier, more desirable countries.
The survey looked at six indicators for happiness:
1. GDP per head
2. Healthy life expectancy
3. Having someone to count on
4. Perceived freedom to make life choices
5. Freedom from corruption
6. Prevalence of generosity
Each country and each culture has different values, but because this survey was based on six very well defined criteria, it pre-defines what makes people happy. Thus, the results are biased towards a certain outlook on happiness.
The report suggests countries align their priorities with happiness indicators, instead of the more traditional economic indicators. This includes spending more money on mental health programs, since mental state is so closely tied to happiness. Aligning policy goals with happiness objectives serves a country because happier people are healthier and more productive. It’s interesting that this is the opposite of what’s being done. To make people happier, governments are trying to make people richer instead of just focusing on what makes them happier.
Article Reference: The 10 Happiest Countries In The World, And Why We’re Not One Of them – Ben Schiller – Fast Company – September 10, 2013 – http://www.fastcoexist.com/3017037/the-10-happiest-countries-in-the-world-and-why-were-not-one-of-them#4
Additional information from : http://unsdsn.org/happiness/