When a mind is happiest, it is said to work at its fullest potential. A happy soul causes pumps of adrenaline which make us feel more energetic and cheerful. Happiness is affected by many factors- work environment, living environment, facilities around, and so on. To measure this intangible emotion of happiness, The United Nations has been attempting to solve the problem. Beginning in 2012, The World Happiness Index is a research that explores the relationships between happiness and development and urges governments to prioritize the former. The report is released by Sustainable Development Solutions Network.
How Do They Measure Happiness?
Many know about this marvelous of a report of the Happiness Index, but not many know what process they follow. It’s not like happiness is like a fever that can be measured with a thermometer in the mouth. Or blood pressure to be monitored by a machine. It is the way a person- or whole countries in this scenario- feels as a whole.
The World Happiness Report goes above and beyond while measuring this feeling. The authors have identified many crucial elements that could perhaps account for the variation in happiness.
The authors have narrowed down the measurement of happiness to 7 key factors.
- GDP per capita
- Social Support
- Healthy Life Expectancy
- Freedom To Make Life Choices
- Perceptions of Corruption
- Unexplained Happiness
In social studies, there is always a significant element of uncertainty because, in contrast to other branches of science, the findings can never be fully explained. This is due to the fact that a seemingly unlimited number of factors most of which are subjective and/or immeasurable, affect how happy we feel on a daily basis. Even though there are certain aspects that can’t really be counted in numbers, the World Happiness Index still does an incredible job at categorizing these countries and their happiness level and transforming it into numerical figures.
Recently, the World Happiness Index 2022 was released and it revealed the happiest and the unhappiest of countries around the world. The list is a little more intriguing due to COVID-19, even though the results follow prior trends. The report gave particular consideration to assessing how various governments had promoted citizens’ happiness prior to, during, and maybe after the pandemic.
So let the happiness countdown begin.
10. New Zealand
Population- 5.12 Million
Yes. In true countdown fashion, the last one is the first.
New Zealand has maintained its position in the top ten despite having one of the lowest rates of COVID-related deaths during the epidemic. Even without that time stamp, Kiwis are known for being cheerful and upbeat people, which is a result of their contentment in both the professional and social worlds. It also helps to have a prime minister who prioritizes mental and emotional development. Their prime minister Jacinda Ardern introduced a separate Wellbeing Budget which allocated a certain amount of money towards initiatives that work for boosting mental health.
A perfect deserving candidate as a happiness index country isn’t it?
Population- 8.66 Million
Israel has, at last, climbed into the top ten in 2022 after finishing 12th the previous year. As one of the first nations to effectively immunize a significant percentage of its people, the nation’s reaction to the pandemic greatly increased public trust in the government. Israel also has the lowest rate of diet-related mortality worldwide (high cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes, etc.), making it one of the healthiest nations in the world.
Population- 5.47 Million
In Norway, there isn’t much to grumble about. Very few people have left behind thanks to a well-integrated government welfare system and a booming economy built on responsible resource management (good riddance, fossil fuel-powered cars), and the resulting feelings of social support, trust in the government, and economic well-being all contribute to overall happiness.
Population- 10.45 Million
Sweden dropped from sixth to seventh place this year due to its high COVID-related death rate, which was the highest among the Nordic nations. Despite this, it continues to rank among the happiest nations in the world, in large part because of a high GDP per capita. According to a different study, Sweden is the best country for women due to its emphasis on social equality that is incorporated into the educational system as early as kindergarten, 16 months of paid family leave that can be divided between a couple after a new child is welcomed into a family, and free daycare. Basically, a population that places more of an emphasis on work-life balance is happier.
Population- 0.6 Million
With less than 600,000 population, this little nation provides excellent wages and a robust social security system to assist its citizens after retirement. But before you assume that in Luxembourg, money really does buy happiness, you should know that the nation has many other advantages as well, such as a first-rate healthcare system and a superb work-life balance (probably due to the mandatory five weeks of vacation time).
Population- 17.5 Million
The most significant Netherlands statistic this year? Between 2005 and 2021, its contentment levels scarcely changed (less than a 0.03 percent change). And as it turns out, happiness begins early in the Netherlands. According to a 2013 UNICEF research that looked at a variety of indicators for scholastic success, safety, and health, Dutch children were ranked as the happiest in the world.
Population- 8.57 Million
Every issue is put to a vote in Switzerland (which slipped one rank this year), from how many vacation days employees should have to how many immigrants should be let into the nation, and referendums down to the municipal level occur frequently. Swiss citizens experience an unmatched sense of involvement in the development of their nation because of this direct democracy system. There is a strong social fabric kept together by the conviction that every voice matters, which can go a long way toward feeling content. The Swiss are famous for being secluded, which might be off-putting to first-time visitors.
Population- 0.343 Million
Iceland has a high percentage of respondents who stated they felt like they could rely on a fellow citizen in times of need. Perhaps the country’s post-2007 financial meltdown and subsequent rebuilding made this clearest. When it comes to happiness, Icelanders seem unfazed. You’d think that the constant influx of American tourists into Reykjavik may have given a blow to the residents’ happiness—after all, it must be a little tougher to get that dinner reservation than it used to be.
Population- 5.928 Million
This year, Denmark held onto the second-place position. The nation ranks highly in all of the reported metrics, including life expectancy, social support, and generosity, but it also has a strong commitment to the production of renewable energy. Denmark’s level of happiness can be determined by looking at a variety of factors, such as economic security, freedom, civic engagement, and work-life balance.
Population- 5.5 Million
Finland is the happiest country in the world for the sixth consecutive year. Despite occasionally being outperformed by nations like South Korea, Japan, and Singapore, the nation consistently has one of the best education systems in the world. An educational system that places more emphasis on experiential learning and equitable opportunity than on quantitative testing and widespread respect for teachers with master’s degrees are two factors contributing to this accomplishment.
How would you personally rate these top 10 countries, plus the country you live in? Do you think this way of measuring happiness- a feeling, through measurable aspects like the country’s development and other factors the right direction?
Did you find your country listed in these top 10 happiness index countries?