Tuesday, September 21st, 2021

Nepal becomes happiest country in South Asia



20 March 2021, Kathmandu

Nepal has bagged the 87th spot in the UN World Happiness Report 2021. The report ranks 149 countries on “how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be”. Finland has topped the chart for the fourth year in a row.

The 2021 issue of the World Happiness Report that has been released by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network focuses on the effects of Covid-19 and how people all over the world have fared.

“Our aim was two-fold, first to focus on the effects of Covid-19 on the structure and quality of people’s lives, and second to describe and evaluate how governments all over the world have dealt with the pandemic. In particular, we try to explain why some countries have done so much better than others,” it said in a statement.

According to the report, Nepal tops the list of South Asian countries. Nepal is ranked 87th in the world with a score of 5.269. This is more than the previous year. Last year, Nepal was ranked 92nd spot.

However, the progress of neighboring China is more than that of Nepal. Last year, China was ranked 94th behind Nepal with a score of 5.124.

This year, China has surpassed Nepal and is ranked 84th with 5.339 points.

In South Asia, after Nepal, Maldives is in 89th place with 5.198 points, Bangladesh is in 101st place with 5.025 points, Pakistan is in 105th place with 4.934 points, Sri Lanka is in 129th place with 4.325 points and India is in third place with 3.819 points. Afghanistan is in 139th place.

Bhutan was not included in the survey.  Nepal and Bangladesh have also made progress in this year. Last year, Bangladesh was ranked 107th with a score of 4.833. The Maldives has slipped to 87th position this year from last year. Pakistan, which was ranked 66th last year. Sri Lanka, which was ranked 130th last year, has improved. India, which was ranked 144th last year, has also improved. Afghanistan, which was ranked 153rd last year, is also ahead.

According to the findings, factors most conducive to sustaining high levels of happiness in the face of the pandemic were mutual trust in each other and confidence in the government.

According to the report, Iceland, Denmark, and Switzerland are second third, and fourth respectively on the list with respect to the Happiest countries in the world. New Zealand (ninth) is the only non-European country in the top ten countries on the list.

The US stands 14th on the list; the UK on rank 18. Germany has jumped from 17th to seventh place in the last year.
Croatia, which was among the destinations where face-to-face interviews were able to take place, rose from number 79 to 23 on the list, according to CNN citing the report.

“Surprisingly there was not, on average, a decline in well-being when measured by people’s own evaluation of their lives. One possible explanation is that people see COVID-19 as a common, outside threat affecting everybody and that this has generated a greater sense of solidarity and fellow-feeling,” John Helliwell, one of the editors of the report and a professor in the University of British Columbia, said in a statement as reported by Sputnik.

The World Happiness Report, conducted annually since 2012, is calculated based on such measurements as GDP per capita, level of social support, life expectancy, observance of civil liberties, job security, level of corruption, as well as the results of public opinion polls.

According to CNN, the report suggests that the average age of a country’s population, whether it’s an island, and its proximity to other highly-infected countries were contributing factors in the disparity between death rates globally.

“The East Asian experience shows that stringent government policies not only control Covid-19 effectively but also buffer the negative impact of daily infections on people’s happiness,” said report contributor Professor Shun Wang of the Korea Development Institute.

Of the 149 countries featured on the report, Afghanistan has ranked the most unhappy once again, followed by Zimbabwe, Rwanda, and Botswana.

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