Due to the crippling effects of the global pandemic, the Philippines slides further down the list that compares each country’s happiness levels.
According to the 2021 World Happiness Report (WHR), the Philippines slipped to the 61st slot among 149 countries, garnering a mean score of 5.88. This is nine places down from its previous 52nd position in 2019 when it posted a score of 6.006.
Coming out as the happiest country in the world is Finland, which retains its top spot for the fourth straight year, with a score of 7.842. Nine European countries (Finland, Iceland, Denmark, Switzerland, Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, Norway, and Austria) comprise the top 10 happiest nations, with New Zealand being the only Pacific nation on the list at the ninth spot.
Meanwhile, the “least happy” country is Afghanistan, coming in the last place among the 149 countries with a score of just 2.523. The African nations of Lesotho, Botswana, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe join Afghanistan at the bottom of the list.
Scores are aggregated from the average of the three previous years’ scores, or from 2018 to 2020. These are measured from respondents’ subjective well-being based on three indicators, life evaluations, positive emotions, and negative emotions. WHR sources these from the Gallup World Poll which assigns people’s assessment of their life and emotions on a scale of “thriving, struggling, and suffering.”
In the nine years that the World Happiness Report has conducted the annual survey, this year’s report has been “one like no other,” according to its editors, due to the prevalence of the COVID-19 pandemic which “caused a large and immediate decline in mental health” across the globe. Nonetheless, the report reveals only “modest changes” in the rankings, which signifies a “widely shared resilience in the face of a global pandemic.”
The annual release of the World Happiness Report coincides with the International Day of Happiness, commemorated every March 20th.