Happy nations deal better with corona

Namibians among saddest citizens in the world

31 March 2020 | Health

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK



While countries around the world are reeling under the deadly threat of the coronavirus, finding good cheer has become difficult.

However, experts at the United Nations view it differently and asked people in 153 countries around the world, while evaluating their happiness levels.

The results of the 2020 World Happiness Report indicate that Namibia has one of the saddest populations in the world.

Namibia was ranked the 122nd happiest out of 153 countries.



Landmark survey

The report published by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network is a landmark survey of the state of global happiness.

The data for this year's report was taken in 2018 and 2019 and is therefore not impacted by the widespread restrictions and lockdowns that many countries have imposed due to the coronavirus.

“It may not seem like a banner moment to release the report, given the mass global misery from the coronavirus, but it's actually an especially important moment to analyse why the happiest nations are happy,” the authors noted.



Critical time for happiness

They added that this is a critical time to study the happiness of nations, because it can instruct leaders on what is important in a pandemic and which countries are likely to handle and weather it well.

The report suggests that the world's happiest countries might be better able to deal with the coronavirus, due to higher levels of trust their citizens have in others.

It said that communities and nations with higher levels of social trust and connection are more resilient in the face of natural disasters and economic crises.

Finland tops list

For the third year in a row, Finland was named the happiest country, followed by Denmark and Switzerland.

The top nations, the report said, “tend to have high values for all six of the key variables that have been found to support well-being: Income, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust and generosity”.

Namibia scored a total of 4.57 out of 10 in comparison to top-ranking countries such as Finland, which scored 7.8.

The unhappiest countries globally are the Central African Republic (CAR), Rwanda, Zimbabwe, South Sudan and Afghanistan, which ranked last with a score of 2.5.

In Africa, Libya tops the list as the happiest country at position 80, followed by Cote d'Ivoire (85), Benin (86), Congo-Brazzaville (88) and Ghana (91).

In 2019, Namibia ranked as the 113th happiest country in the world.

Ultimately, the World Happiness Report aims to encourage governments and individuals to shape policies and life choices with greater well-being in mind.