Nepalis have something to cheer about

KATHMANDU, APR 25: Nepal is ranked 121st among 158 countries in the World Happiness Report-2015 released by the New York-based United Nations Sustainable Development Solution Network yesterday.

In 2013, Nepal was ranked 135th among 156 countries with a score of 4.156. It shows that Nepal has made a remarkable progress in happiness index by climbing 14 spots above its 2013 ranking. The rankings were determined on the basis of Gallup surveys that analysed the key factors contributing to happiness level of people in individual countries from 2012-2014. It is the third global report of this kind. GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity and freedom from corruption were determined as key determinants of happiness.

In South Asia, Nepal ranks fifth with a score of 4.514, only above Sri Lanka (4.271) and Afghanistan (3.575). Bhutan tops happiness index in South Asia with 5.253 points, followed by Pakistan (5.194), Bangladesh (4.694) and India (4.565). Maldives was not included in the survey.

According to the report, the average scores simply reflect what individual respondents report to the Gallup World Poll surveyors. The respondents were asked to rate their happiness level from 0-10. Zero represents the worst possible life and 10 the best possible. Responses ranged from above 7.5 at the top of the rankings to below 3 at the bottom. National sample size was 3,000.

On the global level, Bhutan ranks 79th, Pakistan 81st, Bangladesh 109th, India 117th, Sri Lanka 132nd and Afghanistan 153rd.

The top five happiest countries are Switzerland (7.587), Iceland (7.561), Denmark (7.527), Norway (7.522) and Canada (7.427). At the bottom are Rwanda, Benin, Syria, Burundi and Togo which have scored less than half of what the top five countries scored on the index.

The report aims to encourage the nations to make more efforts to increase the happiness level of their people, bearing in mind its determining factors and stresses that money is not all that raises the happiness level. For example, the United States ranks 15th compared to Costa Rica (12th), whose GDP per capita is one-fifth of that of the US.

Rank Country Score

79 Bhutan 5.253

81 Pakistan 5.194

109 Bangladesh 4.694

117 India 4.565

121 Nepal 4.514

132 Sri Lanka 4.271

153 Afghanistan 3.575