World Happiness Report 2023

The World Happiness Report is an annual publication that ranks countries based on their levels of happiness and well-being. It is an initiative of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and was first launched in 2012. The report aims to provide policymakers, governments, and individuals with valuable insights into factors that contribute to happiness and to promote the use of happiness and well-being as essential measures of a nation’s social and economic development.

Key Features of the World Happiness Report:

  1. Happiness Ranking: The report ranks countries based on their “Happiness Score.” This score is calculated by asking people in various countries to rate their life satisfaction on a scale from 0 to 10. The rankings are based on data collected from surveys and various national statistics.
  2. Factors Influencing Happiness: The report not only provides rankings but also analyzes the factors that contribute to happiness in different countries. It considers several key factors, including GDP per capita, social support, life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity, perceptions of corruption, and absence of corruption.
  3. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): The World Happiness Report is closely linked to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are a set of 17 global goals adopted by UN member states to address various social, economic, and environmental challenges and improve the well-being of people worldwide.
  4. Regional and Country-Specific Analysis: The report offers regional and country-specific analysis, providing valuable insights into variations in happiness levels and factors influencing happiness across different regions and cultures.
  5. Yearly Updates: The World Happiness Report is released annually, allowing for tracking changes in happiness levels over time. It also highlights emerging trends and provides policymakers with updated information for evidence-based decision-making.
  6. Policy Implications: The report suggests policy implications based on its findings to help countries improve their citizens’ well-being and overall happiness. These recommendations cover areas such as income inequality, social welfare, healthcare, education, and environmental sustainability.
  7. Worldwide Impact: The World Happiness Report has gained significant attention worldwide, becoming a valuable resource for academics, policymakers, and the general public. It helps in understanding the importance of happiness and well-being as integral components of a country’s development.

Parameters used to determine the index

The World Happiness Report uses a set of parameters or factors to create the Happiness Index. These parameters are based on data collected from Gallup World Poll surveys and other reputable sources. 

  1. GDP per capita: This parameter represents a country’s economic output per person. While economic prosperity alone does not guarantee happiness, it is considered an essential factor as higher GDP per capita generally allows for better access to resources and opportunities.
  2. Social support: This factor measures the extent to which individuals have a support system available to them in times of need. It considers the presence of family, friends, and other social networks that can provide emotional and practical support.
  3. Healthy life expectancy: This parameter reflects the average number of years a person can expect to live in good health. It emphasizes the importance of overall well-being and health in contributing to happiness.
  4. Freedom to make life choices: This factor assesses the level of personal freedom and autonomy individuals have to make life decisions, including career choices, relationships, and other life aspects.
  5. Generosity: This parameter measures the extent to which individuals in a country engage in charitable and generous behaviors, such as donating money or helping a stranger.
  6. Perceptions of corruption: This factor takes into account the level of corruption perceived by citizens in both government and business sectors. High levels of corruption can erode trust and have a negative impact on happiness.
  7. Positive and negative affect: This parameter measures the positive and negative emotional experiences reported by individuals in a country. It helps to gauge the prevalence of positive emotions like joy and contentment and negative emotions like sadness and worry.
  8. Social inequality: While not a direct factor in the index, the report also considers social inequality and its impact on happiness. Greater levels of income inequality can contribute to lower overall happiness in a country.

World Happiness Report 2023

Country Performances in the Report: Top Performers:

  • Finland secured the top position as the happiest nation for the sixth consecutive year.
  • Denmark ranked second, followed by Iceland in third place.
  • Notably, Lithuania made its debut in the top 20 this year, securing the 20th spot.

Worst Performers:

  • Afghanistan was ranked as the unhappiest nation, with Lebanon, Sierra Leone, and Zimbabwe following closely.

India’s Performance:

  • India ranked at 126th position out of the 136 countries listed, making it one of the least happy countries in the world.
  • In the previous year (2022), India stood at the 136th position among 146 countries.
  • India falls behind neighboring nations such as Nepal, China, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka in the happiness rankings.

About the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN):

  • The SDSN was established in 2012 under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General.
  • Its primary focus is to promote integrated approaches in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
  • The network achieves this through activities such as education, research, policy analysis, and global cooperation.

The World Happiness Report serves as a reminder to policymakers that improving people’s well-being and happiness should be a central goal of sustainable development, alongside economic growth and other traditional measures of progress. By using happiness as a metric, it encourages a more holistic and inclusive approach to policy-making and development efforts worldwide.

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