The first World Happiness Report was presented in 2012. This week the 2022 report was published. Perhaps surprisingly, in most nations, average life evaluations have remained “remarkably resilient during COVID-19.” Although, according to report authors, life satisfaction has fallen for the young and increased for people over 60, and levels of stress have risen measurably since pre-pandemic days.
On the positive side, the most remarkable change seen during COVID-19 has been the global upsurge in benevolence in 2021. This benevolence has provided notable support for the life evaluations of givers, receivers, and observers, who have been gratified to see their community’s readiness to reach out to help each other in times of need. In every global region, there have been large increases in the proportion of people who give money to charity, help strangers, and do voluntary work in every global region.
Happiness Report posits that COVID-19 deaths have been lower in countries with greater levels of equality and with higher trust in public institutions. However, many countries lack the capacity for accurate reporting of mortality arising from the pandemic. Others lack the political will, so it is difficult to draw reliable conclusions.
For example, China, with over 18 percent of world population claims to have suffered fewer than one-tenth of one percent of COVID-19 deaths. The death rate reported by the ten most affected nations is over 1,500 higher.
Ten countries ranked highest for happiness are shown here. Although fifth 10 years ago, Canada placed 15th, the lowest ever, just ahead of the USA. While this country ranked lower in per capita GDP than the southern neighbour, it was higher in healthy life expectancy and freedom to make life choices.
I think we can assume the ninth place ranking excluded people living in territories occupied by that country.
The first World Happiness Report was prepared at the Earth Institute, with research support from Centre for Economic Performance, and Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. The central base for the reports since 2013 has been Sustainable Development Solutions Network and Center for Sustainable Development, directed by Jeffrey D. Sachs.