Friday, 14 December, 2018

NZ among top 10 happiest nations

Fans of skiing saunas and Father Christmas won't be surprised to hear Finland has been named the happiest place to live. Its capital Helsinki is shown in this file NZ among top 10 happiest nations
Patty Aguilar | 15 March, 2018, 04:36

Israel has retained its spot as the 11th happiest country in the world for the fifth year running, according to the United Nations' annual "World Happiness Report", published Wednesday. The immigrant happiness rankings are based on the full span of Gallup data from 2005 to 2017, sufficient to have 117 countries with more than 100 immigrant respondents. Denmark, Iceland, and Switzerland rounded out the top five.

Finland has come out on top of an global index that ranks nations by how happy they are as places to live. No country has held the title for two years in a row.

This year's survey was also the first to assess the happiness of immigrants in each of the countries. "The U.S. happiness ranking is falling, in part because of the ongoing epidemics of obesity, substance abuse, and untreated depression".

"Governments are increasingly using indicators of happiness to inform their policy-making decisions", notes the report's co-editor, Jeffrey D. Sachs.

Defining happiness can be tricky because it means something different for everyone but in the latest World Happiness Report, Finland takes the top spot for the world's happiest country.

Compared with a 2008-10 base period, 58 countries became significantly happier, and 59 became significantly less happy. The finding on the happiness of immigrants "shows the conditions that we live under matter greatly to our quality of life, that happiness is not only a matter of choice".

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Wiking from the Happiness Research Institute said the United States had also seen declining "trust, generosity and social support, and those are some of the factors that explain why some countries are happier than others". This effect ranges from 10% to 25%.

For the first time, the happiness report, launched by the United Nations launched in 2012, includes a section on the happiness of immigrants in each country.

The study did not examine how national immigration policies affect happiness.

The importance of social factors in the happiness of all populations, whether migrant or not, is emphasized in Chapter 6, where the happiness bulge in Latin America is found to depend on the greater warmth of family and other social relationships there, and to the greater importance that people there attach to these relationships.

The 170-page report also reflected emerging health problems like obesity, depression, opioid crisis, especially in the U.S. who emerged as the leading nation with this health deformities. The country also has a socio-economic system which leads to more income equality - a major factor in unhappiness - than other high income nations.

World Happiness Report management by Sharon Paculor, copy edit by Claire Bulger, Sybil Fares and Saloni Jain.

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