The UN’s second World Happiness Report confirms that Danes are the happiest people in the world.
To measure happiness, the report evaluates a survey within six areas: real GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy, having someone to count on, perceived freedom to make life choices, freedom from corruption, and generosity.
Denmark’s top ranking owes to the Danish welfare state which ensures economic security and free access to healthcare. Also the fact that Denmark is the least corrupt country in the world and holds a relatively stable economic environment despite the fiscal crisis places, contribute to the Danish life satisfaction.
The report published by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) further strengthens the case that well-being should be a critical component of how the world measures its economic and social development.
Leading experts in several fields – economics, psychology, survey analysis, national statistics, and more – describe how measurements of well-being can be used effectively to assess the progress of nations.
– “More and more world leaders are talking about the importance of well-being as a guide for their nations and the world. The World Happiness Report 2013 offers rich evidence that the systematic measurement and analysis of happiness can teach us a lot about ways to improve the world’s well-being and sustainable development,” says Professor Jeffery Sachs, one of the editors of the report.
The report also shows the major beneficial side-effects of happiness. Happy people live longer, are more productive, earn more, and are also better citizens. Well-being should be developed both for its own sake and for its side-effects.
The Report is edited by Professor John F. Helliwell, of the University of British Columbia and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research; Lord Richard Layard, Director of the Well-Being Programme at LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance; and Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, Director of the SDSN, and Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General.
The first World Happiness Report was released in 2012 ahead of a UN high-level meeting on Happiness and Well-being and drew international attention as a landmark first survey of the state of global happiness. This new Report goes further. It delves in more detail into the analysis of the global happiness data, examining trends over time and breaking down each country’s score into its component parts, so that citizens and policy makers can understand their country’s ranking. It also draws connections to other major initiatives to measure well-being, including those conducted by the OECD and UNDP’s Human Development Report; and provides guidance for policy makers on how to effectively incorporate well-being into their decision making processes.
The World Happiness Report 2013 reveals trends in the data judging just how happy countries really are. On a scale running from 0 to 10, people in over 150 countries, surveyed by Gallup over the period 2010-12, reveal a population-weighted average score of 5.1 (out of 10). Six key variables explain three-quarters of the variation in annual national average scores over time and among countries.