Pakistanis happier than Indians are, says UN report

NEW DELHI, March 15, 2018: They say money is not always the reason for being happy. Even as India’s growth story is intact, the people in the country, it appears, are getting unhappier by the year, while their not so prosperous terrorist-hit neighbours in Pakistan are becoming happier, shows the latest United Nations ranking of the world’s happiest countries.

India, which dropped fourth notches in the 2017 World Happiness Report, fell a further eleventh in the 2018 report. It now ranks 133 on the list of 156 countries monitored by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Solutions Network for its annual ‘joy’ report.

However, Pakistan, a country mostly disturbed by terrorist activity, is shown as being even happier in the 2018 rankings. It’s on number 75, up five places from last year, media reports said.

Not just Pakistan, all of India’s immediate neighbours are more joyful than Indians, despite many of them not being prosperous economically or even socially. Neighbouring countries, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka are all ahead of India in the Happiness rankings. Even China is happier than India.

The World Happiness Report published on March 14, 2018 put Finland at the top among 156 countries ranked by happiness levels, based on factors such as life expectancy, social support and corruption.

Studying happiness may seem frivolous, but serious academics have long been calling for more testing about people’s emotional well-being, especially in the United States. In 2013, the National Academy of Sciences issued a report recommending that federal statistics and surveys, which normally deal with income, spending, health and housing, include a few extra questions on happiness because it would lead to better policy that affects people’s lives.

The entire top ten were wealthier developed nations. Yet money is not the only ingredient in the recipe for happiness, the report said.

In fact, among the wealthier countries, the differences in happiness levels had a lot to do with “differences in mental health, physical health and personal relationships: the biggest single source of misery is mental illness,” the report said.

“Income differences matter more in poorer countries, but even their mental illness is a major source of misery,” it added.