Top 10 happiest countries according to the 2018 World Happiness Report

January 21, 2019



Arielle Abrigo

Last year, the World Happiness Report was released, and has revealed the crests and troughs of countries. Because of globalization, the people of the world are incessantly on the move. This is the dominant issue acknowledged by the 2018 World Happiness Report, together with the focus on migration.

Finland has outperformed Norway, and was crowned the happiest nation of the 156 countries on the list. On the other hand, India was rated at 133, an unswerving decline from 111 in the year 2013. Besides Finland, other Scandinavian countries pinnacled the charts. Provided by the UN, the World Happiness Report that was made in accordance with a Gallup survey, asked respondents to rate their lives on a scale of 1 to 10, with 0 denoting the worst possible life. It was based on self-reported wellbeing along with the emphasis on depravity, generosity, and freedom. Joining India’s regression is the United States, which slipped to 18th place, five places lower on 2016. The other three top places were occupied (in order) by Norway, Denmark, and Iceland. Burundi in east Africa, a place disfigured by stretches of ethnic cleansing, civil wars, and coup attempts, was labeled the unhappiest country. Notably, there are five other nations, namely Rwanda, Yemen, Tanzania, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic, which document happiness levels lower than that of Syria.

UN has surveyed the happiness levels of immigrants in each country, and found Finland has also ranked the highest. The report, an annual publication from the UN Sustainable Solutions Network, said all the Nordic countries scored highly due to income, health life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust and generosity. Happiness, for some, may be the spontaneous feeling of joy, but in the case of India, it may posit as a desperation. It is a country that is poor and populous, with 1.3 billion people and over 220 million poor. In this regard, happiness presents itself as shapeless, although is it presently obtaining traction, with some of India’s states already announcing the introduction of happiness curriculum in schools. Two states, particularly Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, have set up happiness index departments.

Of Self, Space, and Mapping

Countless definitions have been detailed for place, but commonly the term ‘place’, as opposed to space, communicates a strong affective connection between an individual and a particular setting. Simply put, place is a combination of human values and principles; it is covered with meanings and ideals of its users. Places play a significant role in human life, therefore, it is an essential facet of the self. In addition to physical features, these touch on messages and meanings that individuals perceive and translate based on their roles, experiences, expectation, and motivations. The sense of place suggests the specific experience of an individual in a specific setting, therefore, it becomes an important factor to retaining the quality of the built environment.

Sense of place is the individual’s subjective view of the environments, as well as the conscious feelings towards it. Sense of place then takes on both emotional and interpretive aspects of environment experience. Mapping, on the other hand, is a commitment the individual implies that the self is, in part, shaped in particular spaces, and that the relationship between these two can be traced—or mapped—through the contours of identity to which the self stays claimed.

Experts have asserted the notion that happy people move to their own measure, pursue their own dreams, and do not look at themselves through the lens of others’ success. Happy people have the tendency to focus on building instead of inching towards damage. In the areas of architecture and urban design, one of the fundamental goals is the creation of places and spaces that connect in a manner that is meaningful to the user. The practices of the built environment aim to establish settings—in this case, countries—that are easy to understand, and are progressively capable of minimizing environmental impacts and social responsibility.

Architects and designers recurrently engage in conversations espousing topics such as beauty, meaning, poetics, relationship, and all ethereal facets of places. And while prejudiced, these surfaces of design are no less imperative than quantifiable elements like form, space, and order. Arguably, a seamless line between the systematic, quantitative aspects of design and the qualitative, less tangible aspects prove most profound to building happier places, and thus, in making more people happy. B ender

Top 10 happiest countries, 2018

(2017 ranking in brackets)

  1. Finland (5)
  2. Norway (1)
  3. Denmark (2)
  4. Iceland (3)
  5. Switzerland (4)
  6. Netherlands (6)
  7. Canada (7)
  8. New Zealand (8)
  9. Sweden (10)
  10. Australia (9)
The 10 unhappiest countries, 2018

(2017 ranking in brackets)

  1. Malawi (136)
  2. Haiti (145)
  3. Liberia (148)
  4. Syria (152)
  5. Rwanda (151)
  6. Yemen (146)
  7. Tanzania (153)
  8. South Sudan (147)
  9. Central African Republic (155)
  10. Burundi (154)

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