Pakistan has jumped eight spots on the World Happiness Index this year and is among the top 20 gainers.
Pakistan, which ranked 75 last year, secured the 67th place on the United Nation’s latest World Happiness Report that gauged 156 countries based on six indicators: income per capita, life expectancy, social support, freedom, generosity and corruption.
This year’s publication also looked at how countries have performed in the happiness rankings since 2005. Pakistan is listed among the top 20 gainers on the index and is joined by the Philippines, 10 countries in Central and Eastern Europe, five in Sub-Saharan Africa and three in Latin America.
Among the 20 largest losers are seven countries in the Middle East and North Africa, six in Sub-Saharan Africa, three in Western Europe, with the remaining significant losers being Venezuela, India, Malaysia and Ukraine.
Pakistan also ranks highest among all of its neighbours again this year. India ranks at 140 — seven spots lower than last year, while China is at 93, Iran at 117, Bangladesh at 125, Iraq at 126 and Afghanistan at 154.
Finland topped the list for the second consecutive year, followed by Denmark and Norway while South Sudan was ranked at the bottom of the index. The other Nordic countries, as well as the Netherlands, Switzerland, Canada, New Zealand and Austria also made the top ten.
As well as 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 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 per cent 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, also featured at the bottom of the table.
Released on the 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.
This has coincided with a rise in negative feelings, “comprising worry, sadness and anger, especially marked in Asia and Africa, and more recently elsewhere,” it said.