By MB Online and AFP
The Philippines moved two places higher in United Nation’s World Happiness Index in 2019, ranked third behind Singapore and Thailand in Southeast Asia and 69th worldwide.
This year’s publication also looked at how countries have performed in the happiness rankings since 2005.
The UN noted that the Philippines was among the top 20 gainers in the index since 2005 alongside Pakistan, 10 countries in Central and Eastern Europe, five Sub-Saharan Africa counties, three Latin American countries.
The five largest declines were in Yemen, India, Syria, Botswana, and Venezuela.
Finland: Happiest country
Finland ranked as the world’s happiest country for the second year running while war-torn South Sudan sank to the least contented.
The Nordic nation of 5.5 million people, known for their love of forests, lakes, and saunas, topped the study which used survey data asking citizens in 156 countries how happy they perceive themselves to be, as well as measures such as life expectancy, income, and social support.
Other Nordic countries, as well as the Netherlands, Switzerland, Canada, New Zealand and Austria also made it the top ten.
Aside from performing well on all the indicators, the most content countries all tended to have very stable societies, with happiness levels changing comparatively little since 2005.
Despite the political turmoil brought about by Brexit, Britain rose four places in the rankings to 15th.
The United States, meanwhile, continued its slide of recent years, dropping one spot to 19th place.
“This year’s report provides sobering evidence of how addictions are causing considerable unhappiness and depression in the US,” said professor Jeffrey Sachs, one of the report’s authors.
The unhappiest nation was South Sudan, where the UN recently said 60 percent of people face food insecurity following a bloody civil war which has claimed the lives of an estimated 400,000 people.
Other conflict-ridden countries, such as Yemen, Afghanistan, and the Central African Republic, were placed at the bottom of the table.
Released on International Day of Happiness on March 20, the report warned that world happiness has declined in recent years, driven by a sustained fall in India, which this year ranked in 140th place.
This coincided with a rise in negative feelings “comprising worry, sadness, and anger, especially marked in Asia and Africa, and more recently elsewhere,” it said.