India drops 11 places to 133 in the UN World Happiness Report 2018


India ranks below all developed countries in the world on the happiness index, and finds itself in the bottom two of SAARC nations as well. 

It seems Indians aren’t too happy as a people - or so found the United Nations in its 2018 World Happiness Report (WHR). India ranked 133 out of 156 countries surveyed by the UN. That is an 11-places drop from last year, and 15 spots behind the year before.

India now lags all SAARC nations barring war-torn Afghanistan in the global happiness index. It means India’s less developed neighbours - Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Sri Lanka are ahead of it on this count.

The UN ranking takes into account factors like per capita income, social support, healthy life expectancy, social freedom, generosity and absence of corruption to arrive at the annual index. India underperformed in ‘freedom to make life choices’ and ‘generosity’, according to the index.

The 2018 WHR observed Indians were increasingly migrating to other countries. “There were big flows from the Indian sub-continent to the Gulf States,” it stated.

Last year also witnessed the increasing mixing of Indians and Europeans in Latin America. According to WHR, “many male and female Indians enjoy high social status” in these regions. “The relative scarcity of Spanish women” in Latin America is promoting the “inter-ethnic mixing”.

Elsewhere in the world

Finland is the world’s happiest country, according to the WHR. It climbed four places from last year to oust fellow Nordic nation Norway as the leader. Great educational facilities and access to free healthcare services propelled Finland to the top. Others in the top ten included Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden and Australia.

The US, meanwhile, dropped four places to 18th in the happiness index. While its per capita income is on the rise, happiness has been dented by weakening social support, and a perception of increasing government corruption.

Jeffrey Sachs, Head of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, stated at the launch of the report: “We obviously have a social crisis in the United States: more inequality, less trust, less confidence in government.”

The UK was one place behind the US on 19th.

Sub-Saharan African nations continued to be the least happy in the world. The bottom five included Burundi, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Tanzania, and West Asia’s Yemen. These countries ranked high on ‘dystopia’ as per the UN.