The United Nations has released its World Happiness Index for 2021. In its ninth annual edition, this year’s report focused on the COVID-19 pandemic and how people around the world reacted to it.
In what has been a pandemic-filled year, the collation of data this time around was unconventional as researchers could not conduct face-to-face interviews in some countries. Instead, the report said researchers primarily focused on the effects of the virus and analyzed how governments across the globe “have dealt with the pandemic”, adding that they tried to explain “why some countries have done so much better than others.”
“Surprisingly there was not, on average, a decline in well-being when measured by people’s own evaluation of their lives,” John Helliwell, University of British Columbia professor and one of the researchers behind the report, said. “One possible explanation is that people see Covid-19 as a common, outside threat affecting everybody and that this has generated a greater sense of solidarity and fellow-feeling.”
For the fourth year running, the Nordic country of Finland took the first spot, with Iceland, Denmark, Switzerland and the Netherlands occupying the remaining top four spots respectively.
Per the report also, a significant number of Asian countries climbed up the performance ladder, with researchers crediting it to the effective manner in which their governments managed the pandemic.
“The East Asian experience shows that stringent government policies not only control Covid-19 effectively, but also buffer the negative impact of daily infections on people’s happiness,” Shun Wang of the Korea Development Institute said.
Scaling it down to Africa, Mauritius once again emerged as the happiest nation on the continent, occupying the 50th position. Libya (80), Republic of the Congo (83), Ivory Coast (85) and Cameroon (91) occupied the remaining top spots respectively.
And though Afghanistan once again emerged as the unhappiest nation in the world out of the 149 that were sampled, a significant number of African countries were also listed at the bottom of the list.
Scroll through to take a look at them:
10. Togo – 136
9. Zambia – 138
8. Sierra Leone – 138
7. Burundi – 140
6. Tanzania – 142
5. Malawi – 144
4. Lesotho – 145
3. Botswana – 156
2. Rwanda – 147
1. Zimbabwe – 148