An Internet report suggested that if you want happiness, buy a scarf and gloves and head to Norway to experience real happiness.  Norway is well-known for its good public services and political stability. Denmark is another country which is famous for happiness nurtured in its culture. Danes have a stable government, little public corruption, and access to high-quality education and health care. The country does have the highest taxes in the world, but the citizens happily pay the taxes because they believe higher taxes can create a better society. Lets understand what Happiness Index is?

What makes people of country happy? Is it economy? Is it environment? Is it education? Is it government policies? Well all of these do contribute to people’s happiness in a country. But, it is not necessary to be higher economic pace and growth always. People are happier when they don’t experience inequality in distribution of wealth; people don’t mind paying taxes when there is fairness in tax structure. People are happy when government practices transparency in the implementing policies. People want safety, people want welfare, people want good infrastructure, hygiene and people want good quality education.

Corruption undermines government revenue and, therefore, limits the capacity of the government to invest in productive areas.  Corruption distorts the decision-making in public investment projects. It’s been observed the higher the level of corruption in a country, the larger the share of its economic activity that will go subversive, beyond the reach of the tax authorities. Corruption discourages entrepreneurship and innovation, it only encourages inefficiency. It dislocates the human resources.  It creates uncertainty among the citizens. And, it diminishes legitimacy in all walks of life and increases crimes.

In all countries there are rich and poor; but when the levels of inequality are low, and the welfare systems are strong, the citizens are happy. People don’t mind paying higher taxes. Look at Denmark, it ranks 158th in the world and Switzerland is even worse, at 174th in the World & Economic Ranking standards.

The World Happiness Index Report is an annual publication of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network which contains rankings of national happiness and analysis of the data from various perspectives. The first World Happiness Report was released in April 2012. In a high level meeting of UN well-being and Happiness were defined as new economic paradigms which drew international attention.

The report primarily uses data from the Gallup World Poll. Gallup is a credible polling organization. It is respected highly in media. Nevertheless, all researches including polling have some weaknesses which depend on the various methodologies and details of the poll and its questionnaires. Each research has few statistical limitations. Gallup ensures that each annual report is available to the public to download on the World Happiness Report website.

Happiness index is measured using parameters like Housing, Income, Work, Community, Civic Engagement, Education, Environment, Health, Life Satisfaction, Safety and Life-Work balance etc. Each report is organized by chapters that delve deeper into issues relating to happiness. The chapters also include mental illness, the objective benefits of happiness, the importance of ethics, policy implications which lead to subjective wellbeing. The report is based on how strong a country’s social foundation and social trust is.

Bhutan is one of the Buddhist Kingdoms in the World and so far has preserved much of their culture since the 17th century. Even with globalization, Bhutan follows its Buddhist culture. It allows a certain number of foreigners into the country each year, and the two hundred dollars a day that must be paid by every traveller is a deterrent for many. Internet, television, and western dress were banned from the country up until ten years ago. But over the past ten years globalization has proved to be a challenge to this tiny nation. Things have begun to change, but they are trying to balance things in their own way.

Bhutan is the only country in the world that has a ‘GNH’ which is “Gross National Happiness.” The process of measuring GNH began when Bhutan opened up to globalization. It measures people’s quality of life, and makes sure that both material and spiritual development happen together in its citizen’s lives. Bhutan has balanced it rightly so far.

Happiness is very important to both individuals and as a country. A happy individual is productive and creative. As human beings, although we possess cognitive abilities and are highly “thought” oriented, the quality of our lives is determined by our emotions. A happy human is emotionally strong because happiness protects heart, it strengthens immune system, it helps in combating stress, it found that happy people have fewer aches and pains.

All Nordic countries are among the happiest countries on the planet, as are Switzerland, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Finland is the winner in 2018 report. Finland’s 5.5 million residents enjoy more forest per square mile than any European country. They have maintained extremely high environmental standards. It’s a peaceful place on Earth. Its immigrants are also happy. The World Happiness Report made particular mention of the consistency in happiness between them and local born residents.

In 2018 World Happiness Index Report, India ranks at 133rd place with a drop of eleven places since previous report. Pakistan is ranked 75th, while Nepal ranked at 101st, Sri Lanka at 116th position and Bangladesh at 115th, Bhutan at 97th place. If you wonder which is the world’s least happy country? It is Burundi, followed by Central African Republic, South Sudan and Tanzania, due to condemnation of life in Africa.

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