Politics

Philippines is most improved in latest list of world’s happiest countries

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The Philippines is the 53rd happiest country in the world, according to the latest World Happiness Report. — PHILIPPINE STAR/EDD GUMBAN

THE PHILIPPINES jumped 23 spots in an annual survey that measures the level of happiness of people around the world, as young Filipinos reported higher life satisfaction than older Filipinos.

In the latest edition of the World Happiness Report (WHR), the Philippines ranked 53rd out of 143 countries, an improvement from last year when it ranked 76th out of 137 countries.

This is the Philippines’ highest ranking in the World Happiness Index since 2020 when it ranked 52nd out of 153 countries.

The country had an average life evaluation score of 6.048 out of a possible 10 this year, higher than the 5.523 score in 2023. 

“The Philippines is the most-improved nation year on year between 2023 and this year’s report, climbing 23 places,” Jonathan Whitney, head of communications at Oxford Wellbeing Research Center, said in an e-mail.

The annual World Happiness Report uses data from the Gallup World Poll which is then analyzed by a global team led by the Oxford Wellbeing Research Center. The rankings are based on a three-year average of each population’s assessment of their quality of life.

Finland topped the list for a seventh straight year, followed by Denmark, Iceland, Sweden and Israel.

Among East and Southeast Asian countries, Singapore had the highest ranking at 30th spot, followed by Taiwan (31st), Japan (51st) and South Korea (52nd).

The Philippines was the fifth happiest country in East and Southeast Asia this year.

For the first time, the World Happiness Report gave separate rankings by age group, which differed significantly from the overall rankings.

Lithuania is the happiest country for people under 30, while Denmark topped the list for those over 60 years old.

“There is a great variety among countries in the relative happiness of the younger, older, and in-between populations. Hence the global happiness rankings are quite different for the young and the old, to an extent that has changed a lot over the last dozen years,” WHR founder John F. Helliwell, said in a statement.

The Philippines was the 70th happiest nation for those under 30 years old, as young Filipinos had an average life evaluation score of 6.305 which is above the country’s overall score.

At the same time, it was the 43rd happiest country for people aged 60 and above, but older Filipinos had an average life evaluation score of 5.976.

“Observing the state of happiness among the world’s children and adolescent population, researchers found that, globally, young people aged 15 to 24 report higher life satisfaction than older adults, but this gap is narrowing in Europe and recently reversed in North America,” the report said.

World Happiness Report Editor Shun Wang said there are six factors that contribute to the happiness score of each population, namely GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom to make life choices, generosity, and perceptions of corruption.

“I found that GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy, and freedom to make life choices has been increased, which may help to partially explain the increasing happiness over the years,” Mr. Wang said in an e-mail. 

The 2024 World Happiness Report was based on individuals’ assessments of their lives between 2021-2023.

“It boils down to the nature of being a Filipino wherein we thrive in a challenging world,” Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Head of Trading Helen G. Oleta said via Viber message.

Ms. Oleta said Filipinos, particularly the younger generation, know how to manage a work-life balance.

“Filipinos also learned to enjoy life more these days,” she added. — Aubrey Rose A. Inosante