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Are we a happy nation? That is a good question, after all, we are a nation in “pursuit of happiness”. The pursuit of happiness is defined as a fundamental right mentioned in the Declaration of Independence to freely pursue joy and live life in a way that makes you happy, as long as we don’t do anything illegal or violate the rights of others. The United Nations has produced an annual report of the “Happiest Nations on Earth” since the year 2012 by directly surveying citizens of every nation and by data analysis. The report has listed the same 10 countries since the organization began publishing the report. It is clear the all 10 countries possess a winning formula of good governance, strong sense of community, respect for fellow citizens, and general high quality of life. The United Nations analysis takes into account other factors that are important, factors such as: Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita. Per capita GDP is a measure of the total output of a country that takes gross domestic product (GDP) and divides it by the number of people in the country. Social Support. Social support is the national average of the binary responses (either 0 or 1) to the Gallup World Poll (GWP) question “If you were in trouble, do you have relatives or friends you can count on to help you whenever you need them, or not?” Healthy Life Expectancy. At birth: first we generate the ratios of healthy life expectancy to life expectancy in 2012 for countries with both data. We then apply the country-specific ratios to other years to generate the healthy life expectancy data. See Appendix 1 for more details. Freedom to Make Life Choices. Freedom to make life choices is the national average of binary responses to the GWP question “Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with your freedom to choose what you do with your life?” Generosity. Generosity is the residual of regressing the national average of GWP responses to the question “Have you donated money to a charity in the past month?” on GDP per capita Perceptions of Corruption. Perceptions of corruption are the average of binary answers to two GWP questions: “Is corruption widespread throughout the government or not?” and “Is corruption widespread within businesses or not?” Where data for government corruption are missing, the perception of business corruption is used as the overall corruption-perception measure. According to the findings of the United Nations, the answer to the question initially posted is NO, we are not the happiest nation on earth. We are far from the top, ranking number 18 in the list of all 156 nations. Now, do we find comfort in the fact that we are at least happier than the other 138 nations? Here you have the 10 top Happiest Nations on Earth for 2017:
Please notice that all of them with the exception of Canada are located at the other side of the world. Notice also that the five NORDIC countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden) have been at the top of the list since the first report that the United Nations has published. Is there anything we need to observe and learn from those nations? And here you have every nation listed in the Happiest Nation on Earth report general table!
March 19 2018
In closing, we may argue that the factors chosen by the United Nations to measure happiness are incomplete, or perhaps not truly representatives of social happiness, however this time, we as a nation are far from the top of this list. As a nation, do we care to be happy? If so, what then can we do to reach the top ten nations of the list and become a happier nation?
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Are We One of The Happiest Nations On Earth? A Question Deserving An Honest Answer
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