Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Happiest Countries, Happiest People

Who measures Gross National Happiness?   Only one country in the world, Bhutan, has officially adopted gross national happiness instead of gross domestic product as their main development indicator. But don’t think that indicates a lack of interest happiness as a measure of development and progress of countries at a global, governmental level. Beginning in 2012 the United Nations Sustainable Solutions Network has published three World Happiness Report. (2012, 2013, 2015)  In early 2016 an update was published with a full report due in 2017.  

After interviews conducted in 156 countries they concluded that the happiest countries are:  Denmark, Switzerland, and Iceland.  Least happy?  Afghanistan, Syria and Togo.  http://worldhappiness.report/.  (The United States was #13, Canada 6, and Mexico # 21.)  See the complete list (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Happiness_Report)

We aren’t talking about happiness in terms of laughter, which have the most comedians per capita or whose people create the best jokes.  Rather the report looks at serious issues of daily life of the residents in 156 countries around the globe. 

Katia Hetter writing for CNN Travel states that the reports authors consider “Happiness is a better measure of human welfare than measuring education, health, poverty, income and good government separately, the report's editors argue.”  There are at least seven key ingredients of happiness: People who live in the happiest countries have longer life expectancies, have more social support, have more freedom to make life choices, have lower perceptions of corruption, experience more generosity, experience less inequality of happiness and have a higher gross domestic product per capita, the report shows.  (italics added)
While the article appeared on the travel site, suggesting perhaps that one might prefer to travel to a happier country, the subject has more serious implications. 
According to World Happiness Report website “Leading experts across fields – economics, psychology, survey analysis, national statistics, health, public policy and more – describe how measurements of well-being can be used effectively to assess the progress of nations”. 
In 2017 a new more detailed report will be issued. Let’s see which countries are Happiest and which ones have moved up or down in the ranking, and how they are seen overall as countries to visit, as business partners, and contributors to the well being of the world.