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World Happiness Report 2021 – India ranks 139 – Bangladesh & Pakistan are happier nations than India

World Happiness Report 2021 – India ranks 139 – Bangladesh & Pakistan are happier nations than India


  • GS 3 || Indian Society || Salient features of Indian Society || Introduction to Indian Society

Why in the news?

The World Happiness Report 2021 has been released by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and Finland was once again crowned as the world’s happiest country. India has been ranked 139 out of 149 countries in the list of UN World Happiness Report 2021. In 2019, India was ranked 140th

What is world happiness report?

  • The World Happiness Report is a landmark survey of the state of global happiness that ranks 149 countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be. This is the ninth World Happiness Report.
  • The first eight reports were produced by the founding trio of co-editors assembled in Thimphu in July 2011, Pursuant to the Bhutanese Resolution passed by the General Assembly in June 2011 that invited national governments to “give more importance to happiness and well-being in determining how to achieve and measure social and economic development.”
  • Although the World Happiness Reports are based on a wide variety of data, the most important source has always been the Gallup World Poll, Which is unique in the range and comparability of its global series of annual surveys.
  • The World Happiness Report 2021 focuses on the effects of Covid-19 and how people all over the world have fared.
  • The annual report ranks nations based on gross domestic product per person, healthy life expectancy and the opinions of residents.
  • Surveys ask respondents to indicate on a 1-10 scale how much social support they feel they have if something goes wrong, their freedom to make their own life choices, their sense of how corrupt their society is and how generous they are.
  • There have been both in-person and telephone samples for India, with the in-person responses being lower than telephone responses, while significantly higher than in-person responses in 2019.
  • Hence the reversal in 2020 of the longer term slide in Indian life evaluations was not attributable to mode effects

Aim of the Report:

  • Report 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.


  • Finland has been ranked as the happiest country in the world for the fourth consecutive year.
  • The Nordic nation is followed by Iceland, Denmark, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Sweden, Germany and Norway
  • Pakistan is on 105th, Bangladesh on 101st and China on 84th.
  • People in war-torn Afghanistan are unhappy with their lives, followed by Zimbabwe (148), Rwanda (147), Botswana (146) and Lesotho (145).
  • The United States ranks at 19th place for happiness, despite being one of the richest countries in the world.
  • Overall, the index showed little change in happiness levels compared to last years’ report, which was based on information from before the Covid-19 pandemic.

World Happiness Report 2021 is based on:

  • This year it ranks 149 countries and how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be. Also, the ranking is based on the Gallup World Poll which consists of six measures.
    • Gross Domestic Product per Capita (Purchasing Power Parity).
    • Social Support.
    • Healthy life expectancy at birth.
    • Freedom to make life choices.
    • Perceptions of corruption.

All about the world happiness report:

  • It is observed annually on March 20th around the world to raise awareness of the importance of happiness in people’s daily lives. Bhutan was the first to propose a resolution focusing on the importance of national happiness over national income, introducing the Gross National Happiness (GNH) over Gross National Product (GNP) in the early 1970s (GNP).
  • The International Day of Happiness was established by the United Nations in 2013, and a resolution was passed in July 2012 to commemorate it. “Happiness for All, Forever” is the theme for International Happiness Day 2021.
  • Well-being is more critical than wealth because wealth will deplete if the problems of sustainable development are not addressed. The World Happiness Index for this year had two goals: first, to reflect on the impact of COVID-19 on the structure and quality of people’s lives, and second, to explain and analyze how governments around the world dealt with the pandemic.
  • This year’s study included two sets of rankings: one was based on an average of three years of Gallup surveys conducted between 2018 and 2020, and the other was focused solely on 2020 to see how COVID impacted subjective well being.
  • In each nation, trust was the most important factor in determining happiness. Nations with higher levels of trust in their institutions and greater income equality were thought to be more effective in combating the pandemic.
  • It was found to be as critical as ever in promoting happiness during the pandemic, and even more so when COVID-19 forced the entire system of private and public lives to be refocused on combating the pandemic.

Happiness is materialistic or peace of mind- Search of happiness:

  • The Search for Happiness In an impoverished society, the focused quest for material gain as conventionally measured typically makes a lot of sense.
  • Higher household income (or higher Gross National Product per capita) generally signifies an improvement in the life conditions of the poor.
  • The poor suffer from dire deprivations of various kinds: lack of adequate food supplies, remunerative jobs, access to health care, safe homes, safe water and sanitation, and educational opportunities. As incomes rise from very low levels, human well-being improves.
  • Not surprisingly, the poor report a rising satisfaction with their lives as their meager incomes increase.
  • Even small gains in a household’s income can result in a child’s survival, the end of hunger pangs, improved nutrition, better learning opportunities, safe childbirth, and prospects for ongoing improvements and opportunities in schooling, job training, and gainful employment.
  • Most importantly, the lifestyles of the rich imperil the survival of the poor. Human-induced climate change is already hitting the poorest regions and claiming lives and livelihoods.
  • It is telling that in much of the rich world, affluent populations are so separated from those they are imperiling that there is little recognition, practical or moral, of the adverse spillovers (or “externalities”) from their own behavior
  • A further huge problem is the persistent creation of new material “wants” through the incessant advertising of products using powerful imagery and other means of persuasion. Since the imagery is ubiquitous on all of our digital devices, the stream of advertising is more relentless than ever before. Advertising is now a business of around $500 billion per year. Its goal is to overcome satiety by creating wants and longings where none previously existed.
  • Advertisers and marketers do this in part by preying on psychological weaknesses and unconscious urges. Cigarettes, caffeine, sugar, and trans-fats all cause cravings if not outright addictions. Fashions are sold through increasingly explicit sexual imagery.
  • Product lines are generally sold by associating the products with high social status rather than with real needs.

Happiness and the Sustainable Development Goals:

  • The Sustainable Development Goals should have four pillars. The first should be to carry on the crucial work of the MDGs in order to end extreme poverty by 2030. The developing countries have successfully cut the overall poverty rate by half comparing 1990 and 2010, from around 44% to 22%.
  • The second pillar of the SDGs should be environmental sustainability.
  • The third pillar should be social inclusion, the commitment of every society that the benefits of technology, economic progress, and good governance should be accessible to everybody, women as well as men, minority groups as well as the majority
  • The fourth pillar should be good governance, the ability of society to act collectively through truly participatory political institutions.

Mains oriented question:

India being a democratic country where everyone has equal rights and freedom to express yet India is not in top ranking of happiest country, what can be probable reason behind it? (200 words)