World Happiness Report: Indians not a cheerful lot, Pakistanis more joyful

Indians are unhappier than most of their South Asian neighbours including the citizens of Pakistan, according to the World Happiness Report 2018. Ranking at 133rd position, India witnessed a drop of 11 places from last year's 122nd rank. India has been consistently falling in the happiness index since 2014. In the same report released in 2015, India was ranked 117 out of 158 nations. 

But Indians can rejoice about the fact that Pakistanis along with Afghans have been ranked among the least accepting people in the world. 

On the other hand, terror-ravaged Pakistan is ranked at 75 compared to its 2017 ranking of 80. Nepal, which is described as the 'poorest-of-poor' among poor nations also fared better in the 'joy' report than India. Nepal was ranked at 101 - down by 2 positions from 2017 report. 

Apart from Pakistan and Nepal, the other SAARC nations that ranked higher than India were Bhutan at 97, Bangladesh at 115 while Sri Lanka was ranked 116. This year's main focus apart from usual rankings was on migration within and between countries.

ALSO READ: India ranked 133rd in World Happiness Index 2018

Scandinavian nations came out as the happiest nations in the world. Finland topped the list this year while Norway, which was ranked at the highest in the global happiness index dropped to the second position. The top ten positions are held by the same countries as in the last two years. Overall, four different countries have held the top spot in the four most recent reports - Denmark, Switzerland, Norway and now Finland. On the other hand, Burundi came bottom in the report which ranked 156 countries. 

The World Happiness Report 2018, ranks 156 countries by their happiness levels, and 117 countries by the happiness of their immigrants. The 2017 report ranked 155 countries. However, Maldives did not figure in both the last two reports. 

The Report is measured by certain variables that have been found to support well-being: GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity, perceptions of corruption and dystopia

There are many reasons for Pakistan to have been ranked above India when one looks more closely at the parameters used to measure a country's happiness. For one, despite being a much larger economy than Pakistan, India's per capita income is just marginally more than its bitter rival. (See chart)

Country Happiness score Dystopia (1.92) + residual GDP per capita Social support Healthy life expectancy Freedom to make life choices Generosity Perception of corruption
India 4.190 1.432 0.721 0.747 0.485 0.539 0.172 0.093
Pakistan 5.472 2.923 0.652 0.810 0.424 0.334 0.216 0.113
Sri Lanka 4.471 0.624 0.918 1.314 0.672 0.585 0.307 0.050
Nepal 4.880 1.782 0.425 1.228 0.539 0.526 0.302 0.078
Bangladesh 4.500 1.664 0.532 0.850 0.579 0.580 0.153 0.144
Bhutan 5.082 1.348 0.796 1.335 0.527 0.541 0.364 0.171
Afghanistan 3.632 2.196 0.332 0.537 0.255 0.085 0.191 0.036

Source: World Happiness Report 2018

Among the other South Asian nations, the different parameters in which India stood higher than Pakistan were dystopia, healthy life expectancy and freedom to make life choices. 

However, other variables - social support, generosity were better in Pakistan, when compared to India's stats. 

Moreover, it is interesting to note that among the SAARC nations, Sri Lanka, which is ranked at the 116th position (much lower than Pakistan) seemed to have fared better in individual parameters, according to the data provided. Similarly, Afghanistan seems to have scored the worst in most of the parameters including GDP, social support, healthy life expectancy etc. 

Country Dystopia  GDP per capita Social support  Healthy life expectancy Freedom to make life choices Generosity Perceptions of corruption
Pakistan WORST            
Bangladesh           WORST BEST

Source: World Happiness Report 2018

The United States, which was ranked 14th last year, dropped four places to be at 18th position, while the United Kingdom was ranked 20th respectively.
The African countries - Tanzania (153rd), South Sudan (154th), Central African Republic (155th) and Burundi (156th) occupied the bottom positions in the happiness index.

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