Why are the richest countries not always the happiest in the world?

Happiness is not measured by material wealth but it is a level of satisfaction for the lives of people living in that country.

The Finns always have a very simple definition of such happiness. According to the report of Global Happiness (WHR) published in March this year, in part because people here absolutely believe and are completely satisfied with the national regimes and harmonious balance. between work and life.

For the past few decades, policymakers, entrepreneurs and many others have been actively taking the level of happiness to assess social progress.

In 2012, the United Nations issued an annual report called the Global Happiness report (WHR). Of the 35 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, up to 34 countries put happiness data in the national statistical report. Even the United Arab Emirates has a Minister of Happiness.

Picture 1 of Why are the richest countries not always the happiest in the world?
The measure of happiness is the level of satisfaction of life for residents living in that country.

Economists said that GDP growth was slow and the limitation of the global standard measure of growth spurred research on happiness indicators. In fact, the happiest countries, according to WHR, are not necessarily the richest countries.

For example, in this year's report the United States dropped to 18th, partly due to the weakening of the social assistance system.

Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, Oxford University economist, WHR collaborator said: "In terms of policy, we always feel that development for the purpose of growth cannot be considered human happiness." .

WHR results are taken from data from the Gallup World Poll survey, which includes questions about social support and freedom of choice such as "If you are in trouble, do you have a relative or friend? Can I trust and ask for help? " or "Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with your freedom to choose what you do in your life?"

Professor De Neve said: "We do not set any definitions at all. Let them identify themselves."

Happy data helps countries identify and set welfare conditions, sometimes in unexpected ways. A decade ago, the Scottish government issued a happy framework with the illusion of a wealthier, fairer, more sensitive, healthier, safer, firmer and greener Scotland. Applying indicators of happiness, the government decided to merge eight police forces into one.

The happiness index can also predict human behavior better. For example, in the early part of Arab Spring, the happiness index predicts better regional unrest than economic growth. Or the "Brexit" vote, Trump presidential election and other populist waves are easier to understand when looking through the prism of happiness.

John Helliwell, a Canadian economist and a WHR member, said that in terms of migration policy, happiness criteria are a clear way to assess whether migration is successful or not, which is focus of the Global Happiness report 2018.

The last migrants are almost as happy as the residents of the country they migrated to. This proves that an individual's happiness depends on the quality of life of the whole community.

Picture 2 of Why are the richest countries not always the happiest in the world?
Happiness of an individual depends on the quality of life of the whole community.

"Can't bring 1 billion people to Helsinki (the capital of Finland) and Copenhagen (the capital of Denmark) . But I have to ask myself," What makes those countries become worthwhile places to live? ". Not because of the oil-rich Norwegians, the high-tech Danes or the Helsinki people who have good media. Those places are worth living because of the way they think about each other, helping and treating people with each other. And of course, that can be done anywhere on the planet. "

Helliwell has seen many ways to measure happiness in many cities and workplaces.

As in Boston, in 2016 the city's authorities created a "CityScore" to track happiness including residents' sense of security. After a fall in safety, they found the cause. However, it takes a long time for this city to establish and sustain itself by resolving the remaining issues to restore the level of happiness back to its original.

Helliwell said: "If you consider everyone's happiness to be a serious problem, you tend to give them the opportunity to make mistakes, learn together and play together."

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