Pakistan Ranked Happiest Country in South Asia

Vista of the Tirich Mir Mountain across the Chitral valley in Pakistan's northernmost district. (Photo by zerega, CC License)
Vista of the Tirich Mir Mountain across the Chitral valley in Pakistan’s northernmost district. (Photo by zerega, CC License)

Pakistan is the happiest country in South Asia on the World Happiness Report 2017 while the most powerful South Asian country, India, is listed at 122, according to the latest World Happiness Report, released Monday by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations. The South Asian nation, facing extremist violence for the past over a decade, has been ranked at number 80 under China (at 79) in a list of 155 countries.

The report identifies Norway is the world’s happiest country followed by Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand and Australia and Sweden. The United States came in 14th place, dropping one place from last year. Russia is ranked at 49.

Happiness is increasingly considered the proper measure of social progress and the goal of public policy. This is the fifth World Happiness Report, and gives special attention to the social foundations of happiness for individuals and nations.

“Although the top ten countries remain the same as last year, there has been some shuffling of places. Most notably, Norway has jumped into first position, followed closely by Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland. These four countries are clustered so tightly that the differences among them are not statistically significant, even with samples averaging 3,000 underlying the averages,” the report says. Three-quarters of the differences among countries, and also among regions, are accounted for by differences in six key variables, each of which digs into a different aspect of life.

These six factors are GDP per capita, healthy years of life expectancy, social support (as measured by having someone to count on in times of trouble), trust (as measured by a perceived absence of corruption in government and business), perceived freedom to make life decisions, and generosity (as measured by recent donations). The top ten countries rank highly on all six of these factors.

People in the Central African Republic are unhappiest with their lives, according to the survey of 155 countries, followed by Burundi (154), Tanzania (153), Syria (152) and Rwanda (151).

In South Asia, according to the report, the nearest most happy country to Pakistan is Bhutan at 97, Nepal at 99, Bangladesh at 110 and Sri Lanka at 120. Afghanistan is ranked at 141 while Iran at 141.

Israel is the happiest country in the Middle East and 11th happiest country in the world. The Palestinian territories are the least happy regions in the Middle East, ranked at 103. The United Arab Emirates is the second happiest country in the Middle East ranked at 21, followed by Qatar at 35, Saudi Arabia 37, Kuwait at 39, Bahrain at 41, Jordan at 74 and Iraq (117). Egypt, which is in Africa but is considered to be part of Middle East, is ranked at 104.

Uzbekistan is at the top of happiest countries in Central Asia, ranked at 47, followed by Turkmenistan at 59, Kazakhstan at 60, Tajikistan at 96, and Kyrgyzstan at 98.

Costa Rica is the happiest country in South and Central America, placed at the 12th happiest country in the world, followed by Chile (20), Brazil(22), Argentina (24), Mexico (25), Uruguay (28), Guatemala (29), Panama (30), Colombia (36), Nicaragua (43), Ecuador (44) ,El Salvador (45), Bolivia (58), Peru (63), Paraguay (70),Venezuela (82) and Honduras (91).

Algeria is Africa’s happiest country ranked at 53, followed by Libya (68), (Nigeria (95), South Africa (101), Egypt (104), (106), Cameroon (107), Namibia (111), Kenya (112), Mozambique (113), Zambia (116), Gabon (118), Ethiopia (119), Mauritania (123), Congo (124) etc.

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