The 2016 World Happiness Report has been released ahead of the March 20 World Happiness Day and reveals that, as was the case in 2015, Denmark is the country in which the people are happiest. The flip side is that happiness inequality has increased markedly around the world. The haves and the have-nots.
What is notable about the World Happiness Report is the geographical locations of the top ten countries - all of which are located near the northern and southern poles. Top place goes to Denmark for the second year running, followed by 2. Switzerland 3. Iceland 4. Norway 5. Finland 6. Canada 7. Netherlands 8. New Zealand 9. Australia 10. Sweden.
What is also apparent is the fact that the main factor contributing to happiness is described as GDP per capita, followed by the level of social support. Third is a healthy life expectancy, and the fourth factor is the freedom to make life choices. The Happiness Index has been drawn up for the last four years and the indicator is increasingly used as an objective measurement of quality of human development. For this reason it is taken more and more into consideration by governments.
Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, stated upon the launch of the 2016 report in Rome, that "the Goals themselves embody the very idea that human well-being should be nurtured through a holistic approach that combines economic, social and environmental objectives. Rather than taking a narrow approach focused solely on economic growth, we should promote societies that are prosperous, just, and environmentally sustainable." He added that "In previous reports the editors have argued that happiness provides a better indicator of human welfare than do income, poverty, education, health and good government measured separately. In a parallel way, they now argue that the inequality of well-being provides a broader measure of inequality. They find that people are happier living in societies where there is less inequality of happiness."
The Report is produced by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and is edited by Professor John F. Helliwell of the University of British Columbia and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research; Professor Richard Layard, director of the Well-Being Programme at LSE's Centre for Economic Performance; and Professor Sachs, director of the Earth Institute and SDSN.
*Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey has worked as a correspondent, journalist, deputy editor, editor, chief editor, director, project manager, executive director, partner and owner of printed and online daily, weekly, monthly and yearly publications, TV stations and media groups printed, aired and distributed in Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Portugal, Mozambique and São Tomé and Principe Isles; the Russian Foreign Ministry publication Dialog and the Cuban Foreign Ministry Official Publications. He has spent the last two decades in humanitarian projects, connecting communities, working to document and catalog disappearing languages, cultures, traditions, working to network with the LGBT communities helping to set up shelters for abused or frightened victims and as Media Partner with UN Women, working to foster the UN Women project to fight against gender violence and to strive for an end to sexism, racism and homophobia. A Vegan, he is also a Media Partner of Humane Society International, fighting for animal rights. He is Director and Chief Editor of the Portuguese version of Pravda.Ru.