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Scoring Happiness Across the Globe

May 4, 2024 | Daily Trek, Futuristic

Scoring Happiness Across the Globe - Radical Trekking - Ayelet Baron

Scoring happiness shows which countries are most and least happy. But can we really quantify happiness?  It’s a complex question, with researchers dividing happiness into two parts: daily experiences and overall life assessment.

In 2011, Bhutan championed a new global focus by urging the UN to value happiness and wellbeing in development metrics. This led to the creation of the World Happiness Report in 2012. This report began by assessing Gallup poll data from 2006 to 2010. People worldwide rated their life satisfaction on a scale from 0 to 10.

Now in 2024, the report notes declines and increases in happiness across various countries. Afghanistan, for instance, is now 60% unhappier than it was over a decade ago, with its happiness score plummeting to 1.7 out of 10. This drastic change correlates with the return of the Taliban to power in 2021, which has significantly impacted women’s rights and economic stability. But where is Yemen, which is facing one of the biggest humanitarian crises of our times that doesn’t make news?

Other countries, too, have seen notable declines. Lebanon, battling decades of corruption and a recent severe financial crisis, has a happiness score of just 2.7. In Jordan, rapid population growth due to incoming refugees and political uncertainties has affected its score, now at 4.2.

Overall, the 2024 report reveals that nine countries have seen their happiness scores drop by more than a point. It’s not shocking that social and economic turmoil profoundly impact national wellbeing.

Conversely, countries like Serbia and Bulgaria have seen their happiness scores improve. Economic growth and better living standards have uplifted their national wellbeing. Serbia’s economy, for instance, has doubled, boosting its happiness score by 1.8 to reach 6.4 out of 10.

The data highlights a complex picture of global wellbeing. While some regions struggle with challenges that lower happiness, others achieve substantial gains. The World Happiness Report plays out a story of how economic stability and effective governance play crucial roles in fostering environments where happiness can thrive. But does this focus on happiness metrics truly encourage a global shift toward healthier living and a world where we thrive?

Maybe it suggests that wellbeing is much bigger than being a key indicator of progress and success? Having happiness as a goal may not be the healthiest indicator of our wellbeing since we still are not addressing the core issues of our individual and collective dis-ease, which are foundational.

“Those who search for happiness do not find it because they do not understand that the object of the search is the seeker.”
― Alan Watts, The Meaning of Happiness

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