SDSN has released its fifth World Happiness Report, which ranks 155 countries by their happiness levels and examines various factors to explain differences in levels of happiness among countries, as well as within them. This year’s report also includes an analysis of happiness in the workplace and a deeper look at China and Africa.
The top four places are closely ranked and are held, in order, by Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland. In our region, both New Zealand and Australia are in the top 10, with New Zealand ranking an overall 8th and Australia 9th.
Chapter 5 used more detailed survey data from Australia and three other countries to examine the key determinants of individual differences in happiness and misery. It found that key factors include economic variables (such as income and employment), social factors (such as education and family life), and health (mental and physical). In Australia, mental health was a more important factor than physical health.
No data from the Pacific was included, again highlighting the challenges of data collection and analysis in small island states.
The report emphasises the importance of the social foundations of happiness, with factors such as having someone to count on, generosity, a sense of freedom, and freedom from corruption explaining half of the variation between countries. The other half is attributed to GDP per capita and healthy life expectancy. These results underscore the importance of putting well-being at the centre policy making.
You can explore the report further through these links: