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Nordic countries among world’s happiest, India ranks 126th

Finland remains at the top in the World Happiness Report’s rankings of 143 countries, closely followed by Denmark

Nordic countries among world’s happiest, India ranks 126th
[Source photo: Chetan Jha/Press Insider]

People in the five Nordic countries turned out to be among the most cheerful in the latest World Happiness Report rankings, in which India was ranked 126th out of a total of 143 countries.

The top 10 countries have remained much the same since before covid, the report said, with Finland still at the top, Denmark following closely behind, and all Nordic countries in the top 10. Iceland, Sweden and Norway are the other Nordic nations. Israel made it to the top 5.

But in the next 10, there is more change, with countries in Eastern Europe rising in happiness, especially Czechia, Lithuania and Slovenia, edging out the US from the top 20 for the first time in 12 years.

The US was ranked 23rd and Germany 24th. The UK came in at the 20th spot and the United Arab Emirates at 22nd.

Among Asian nations, Singapore was ranked 30th, closely followed by Taiwan at 31st, and Uzbekistan at 47th. China came in at 60th, Japan 51st, and Pakistan at 108th.

Lesotho, Lebanon, and Afghanistan came last in the rankings.

In India, older age is associated with higher life satisfaction, the study said, refuting some claims that the positive association between age and life satisfaction only exists in high-income nations.

India’s elderly population is the second largest worldwide, with 140 million Indians aged 60 and over, second only to its 250 million Chinese counterparts.

Older women in India have higher levels of life satisfaction than older men, the study said, pointing out that “this is somewhat surprising given that women are exposed to more everyday life stressors such as workplace discrimination, secondary social status within families and society at large, and are considered to be more susceptible to them.”

The study also found a significant link between educational status and life satisfaction among older adults.

Older Indians with higher levels of education were significantly more satisfied with life compared to their peers without any formal education, the study said, adding that several social, health, and demographic factors could explain the educational differences in life satisfaction among older Indians.

“In addition to education, we also find that older Indians who never experience discrimination or ill-treatment are more satisfied with their lives and that experiences of discrimination and ill-treatment contribute significantly to the caste-based discrepancies in life satisfaction,” the study said.

The World Happiness Report, announced on 20 March to mark the UN International Day of Happiness, is a jointly conducted by Gallup, the Oxford Wellbeing Research Centre, the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and the WHR’s editorial board.

The rankings are based on a three-year average of each population’s average assessment of their quality of life using factors such as gross domestic product, life expectancy, having someone to count on, a sense of freedom, generosity and perceptions of corruption.

For the first time, the report gives separate rankings by age group, in many cases varying widely from the overall rankings. Lithuania tops the list for children and young people under 30, while Denmark is the world’s happiest nation for those 60 and older.

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