Happiness: South Asia

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This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.


Happiness vs Human Development Index

Happiness vs Human Development Index; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India

Indian regions

2016: fitness and happiness in India cities

Fitness and happiness in India cities in 2016

Delhi 2nd last on happiness meter, residents lead sedentary life: Poll Sep 30 2016 : The Times of India

Mumbaikars Found To Be The Happiest

Mumbaikars eat unhealthy food and lead a sedentary life but they are a happy lot. A pan-India survey found out that nearly four out of 10 in the city may have high cholesterol levels--one of the biggest risk factors for heart disease. Yet, a mitigating factor could be that it is the happiest place compared with other big cities.

The survey carried out ahead of the World Heart Day rated Mumbai, Delhi, Chandigarh, Bangalore and Kolkata using a healthy lifestyle score--a cumulative indicator of factors, including eating habits, activity levels and happiness. The city shared the third position with Kolkata scoring 67, which means both can do better in eating healthy and adopting better fitness regimes.

Around 38% of Mumbai residents scored low on the lifestyle chart. The city scored a measly 31 on the active score and 51 on the eat better score. Delhi also lagged, whereas Chandigarh was found to be the most active city. But when it came to the happiness score (81), Mumbai beat all and even the national average of 55.

“What it means is that we may not be healthier but we are happier. The survey is a good indicator that people in the city need to work on their food habits and include more physical activity . Simple things like walking for five minutes about three to six times in a day can help,“ said endocrinologist Dr Shashank Joshi, who consults with Lilavati Hospital, Bandra.

Chandigarh scored the least on the happiness meter.The second lowest was Delhi.In Joshi's opinion, issues such as security could play an influential role in determining happiness. Looking into the fitness parametres, the questionnaire-based survey found out that Mumbaikars eat out more than any other city.


Rokibuz Zaman, Study: People in Mizoram, Punjab, A&N India’s happiest, September 20, 2020: The Times of India


If you’re looking for happiness in these depressing times, Mizoram is the place to be. India’s happiness index, prepared by Rajesh K Pillania, a professor of strategy at Management Development Institute in Gurugram, puts the northeastern state on top of the list, while Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh find a spot in the top 10 too, reports Rokibuz Zaman.

The study is based on a nationwide survey covering 16,950 people between March and July 2020. Six components — work and related issues such as earning; growth relationships, including family and friends; health including physical and mental; philanthropy, including social concerns, religious and/ or spiritual orientation and the impact of Covid-19 on happiness — have been used.

Mizoram, Punjab and Andaman & Nicobar are the top three. Dr Ashley Whillans, assistant professor at Harvard Business School, says: “Maharashtra, Delhi, and Haryana have shown the worst impact of Covid-19 on happiness while Puducherry and J&K are neutral and Manipur, A&N Islands, and Lakshadweep have shown the best possible impact,” it said.


Press Trust of India, March 20, 2021: India Today

World Happiness Report 2021: India ranks 139 out of 149 nations, Pakistan happier at 105

India has been ranked 139 out of 149 countries in the list of UN World Happiness Report 2021 released which is topped by Finland.

The World Happiness Report 2021, issued by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, focuses on the effects of Covid-19 and how people all over the world have fared.

It ranks the world's 149 countries on "how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be”.

“Our 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.

It said that India is on the 139th spot on the list. In 2019, India was ranked 140th.

“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,” it said.

Finland has been ranked as the happiest country in the world. 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, according to the report.

People in war-torn Afghanistan are the most unhappy with their lives, followed by Zimbabwe (148), Rwanda (147), Botswana (146) and Lesotho (145). The happiness study ranks the countries of the world on the basis of questions from the Gallup World Poll. The results are then correlated with other factors, including GDP and social security.

The United States ranks at 19th place for happiness, despite being one of the richest countries in the world.

World happiness


Happiness Index: 2015, India and the world; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India

The Times of India

Apr 25 2015

Unhappy India ranks 117th on world happiness index

Chidanand Rajghatta

Happiness is a warm puppy to some, and to others, happiness is a long weekend when the alarm doesn't need to be set.

Setting aside sticker wisdom, savants who survey the world's wellbeing now take into account a range of metrics that includes not just individual satisfaction and wealth, but also broad contentment: social support, healthy life expectancy , freedom to make life choices, perceptions of corruption, and Dystopia, a generally bleak place where things are going downhill.

All things considered, it doesn't look too good for India.Already rated an unhappy place in 2014 with a ranking of 111, the country dropped six places to 117 out of 158 countries ranked in the 2015 list, which took into account data from 2012-2015.

Switzerland, of whose people it was jokingly said they would have made the Alps flatter if they could, displaced Denmark from first place. Iceland, recovering from its economic meltdown, was placed second. Denmark, Norway , and Canada rounded off the top five. The US came 15th and China was ranked at 84.

The bottom 10 were what are broadly described as crisis states, wracked by disease or war: Chad, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Afghan istan, Rwanda, Benin, Syria, Burundi and Togo. At 81 and 109, Pakistan and Bangladesh, respectively , are positioned happier than India.

World Happiness Report 2016

The Times of India, Mar 17, 2016

India did not make any improvement in its happiness quotient, ranking 118th out of 156 countries in a global list of the happiest nations, down one slot from 2015 on the index and coming behind China, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Denmark takes the top spot as the happiest country in the world, displacing Switzerland, according to the World Happiness Report 2016, published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), a global initiative for the United Nations. The report takes into account GDP per capita, life expectancy, social support and freedom to make life choices as indica tors of happiness. Switzerland was ranked second on the list, followed by Iceland , Norway and Finland .

The report said that India was among the group of 10 countries wit nessing the largest happiness declines along with Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen and Botswana. India comes below nations like Somalia (76), China (83), Pakistan (92), Iran (105), Palestinian Territories (108) and Bangladesh (110). India had ranked 111th in 2013. The US is ranked 13th, coming behind Australia (9) and Israel (11). Rwanda, Benin, Afghanistan, Togo, Syria and Burundi were the least happiest countries, said the report.

2017: India worst in South Asia

India saddest country among all its neighbours, Mar 21 2017: The Times of India 

China, Pak, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangla & Lanka Better Off On Happiness Index

Happiness, Mahatma Gandhi said, is when what you think, what you say , and what you do are in harmony . By that token, India is in complete disharmony and far from its `acche din' ideal. The country has dropped from 118th position in 2016 to 122nd among 155 countries in the 2017 World Happiness Index, a listing topped by Norway , followed by Denmark and Iceland.

So what is the cause of India's unhappiness? Everything from poor life expectancy and job dissatisfaction to lack of so cial support and trust in government and business. India ranked near the bottom vis-a-vis six of the parameters -income, healthy life expectancy , having someone to count on in times of trouble, generosity , freedom and trust -even though one of the metrics, GDP per capita income, has been improving, proving again that money does not beget happiness.

In fact, all of India's neighbours were ranked above us -China (79), Pakistan (80), Bhutan (97), Nepal (99), Bangladesh (110), Sri Lanka (120).

The index ranks people in the Central African Republic as the unhappiest, followed by Burundi (154), Tanzania (153), Syria (152) and Rwanda (151). Five of the top 10 ranks are occupied by the Nordic nations (see graphic).

Published by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network and released at the UN on Monday , the report also records the fall of the US on the happiness scale, because of social issues rather than economic factors. The US, which ranked third among OECD member countries when the index was first conceived, is now at 14th position, mainly on account of declining social support, lesser personal freedom, and corruption, the same factors that put Nordic nations and countries such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand in the Top Ten.

Happiness research and mea surement has gone mainstream ever since India's neighbour Bhutan brought it to the forefront by arguing that it was more meaningful than mere economic metrics such as GDP and inflation.Experts now agree that other measures, such as social support, the spirit of generosity , and freedom of choice matter as well.

How Norway has climbed to the top despite the fall in oil prices offers insight into how the index works. “Norway ... maintains its high happiness not because of its oil wealth, but in spite of it,“ the report states, adding, “By choosing to produce its oil slowly , and investing the proceeds for the future rather than spending them in the present, Norway has insulated itself from the boom and bust cycle of many other resource-rich economies.“

2018: in South Asia India ahead of only Afghanistan

March 15, 2018: The Times of India

The World Happiness ranks of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and other leading countries, in 2018
From: March 15, 2018: The Times of India


India, which dropped four places in the 2017 World Happiness Report, fell a further 11 places in 2018

It now ranks a low 133 on the list of 156 countries surveyed by the United Nations for the report

Pakistan is on number 75, up five spots from last year; China, too, is ahead of India

Indians are an unhappy lot, but Pakistanis get more joyful: UN report

Indians, it appears, are getting unhappier by the year, while their not-so-well-off neighbours in Pakistan are becoming more joyful, shows the latest United Nations ranking of the world's happiest countries.

India, which dropped four places in the 2017 World Happiness Report, fell a further 11 places in the 2018 report. It now ranks a low 133 on the list of 156 countries monitored by the United Nations' Sustainable Development Solutions Network for its annual 'joy' report.

By comparison, terror-ravaged Pakistan, which was already 'happier' than India in the 2017 rankings, is shown as being even happier in the 2018 rankings. It's on number 75, up five spots from last year.

Not just Pakistan, all of India's immediate neighbours are more joyful than Indians, despite many of them not being nearly as well-off economically or even socially. Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka are all ahead of India in the Happiness rankings. Even state-controled China is happier than India.

The World Happiness Report published yesterday put Finland at the top among 156 countries ranked by happiness levels, based on factors such as life expectancy, social support and corruption.

What explains Finland being happiest despite it getting little sun and despite its frigid temperatures?

``Well, our politics and our economics. I think the basics are quite good in Finland. So, yes, we have the perfect circumstances to have a happy life here in Finland said Sofia Holm, a 24-year-old resident of Helsinki, the Nordic country's capital, to the Associated Press.

2019: India unhappiest in South Asia

The World Happiness ranks of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and other leading countries, in 2019
From: March 21, 2019: The Times of India

See graphic:

The World Happiness ranks of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and other leading countries, in 2019

2024: India remains the unhappiest in South Asia

The World Happiness ranks of India, its neighbours and important countries in 2024
The sharpest decline in happiness since 2006-10 was noted in Afghanistan, Lebanon and Jordan…Afghanistan, plagued by a humanitarian catastrophe since the Taliban regained control in 2020, stayed at the bottom of the 143 countries surveyed.
From: March 21, 2024: The Times of India

See graphic:

The World Happiness ranks of India, its neighbours and important countries in 2024
The sharpest decline in happiness since 2006-10 was noted in Afghanistan, Lebanon and Jordan…Afghanistan, plagued by a humanitarian catastrophe since the Taliban regained control in 2020, stayed at the bottom of the 143 countries surveyed. 

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