By Asma’u Ahmad
As the world marks the International Day of Happiness, Nigeria is ranked 85th out of 156 countries and second in sub-Saharan Africa in 2019.
This is according to the annual Global Happiness Policy Report produced by the Global Happiness Council, which was released on Wednesday. It was edited by John F. Helliwell, Richard Layard, Jeffrey D. Sachs, et al.
Nigeria’s ranking is an improvement from its 91st position ranking in 2018. Finland came first as the happiest country in the world for the second year in a row, followed by Denmark, Norway, Iceland and the Netherlands.
The world’s least happy country is South Sudan followed by Central African Republic, Afghanistan, Tanzania, Rwanda, Yemen, Malawi, Syria, Botswana and Haiti.
The report ranks countries on six key variables that support wellbeing: income, freedom, trust, healthy life expectancy, social support and generosity.
This is the seventh World Happiness Report; the first was released in April 2012 in support of a UN High level meeting on “Wellbeing and Happiness: Defining a New Economic Paradigm”.
The report presented the available global data on national happiness and reviewed related evidence from the emerging science of happiness.
It showed that the quality of people’s lives can be coherently, reliably, and validly assessed by a variety of subjective wellbeing measures, collectively referred to then and in subsequent reports as “happiness.”
This year, the focus was on happiness and community: how happiness has been changing over the past dozen years, and how information technology, governance and social norms influence communities.
The report showed that the annual data for Finland have continued their modest, but steady upward trend since 2014. So that dropping 2015 and adding 2018 boosts the average score, thereby putting Finland significantly ahead of other countries in the top 10.
Denmark and Norway have also increased their average scores. The United States came in the 19th place, dropping one spot since last year and a total of five spots since 2017.
On the whole, Helliwell said: “What stands out about the happiest and most well connected societies is their resilience and ability to deal with bad things.
“After the 2011 earthquake and now the terrorist attack in Christchurch, with high social capital, where people are connected, people rally and help each other and (in after the earthquake) rebuild immediately,’’ he said.