Global Happiness Levels In 2021 Tell Us What?


by Jefferson Thomas

World Happiness Report is out to tell us how happy we are. The data tells us the average scores of 149 countries between 2018-2020, and which ones emerged the happiest or unhappiest. We also look at the most and least improved countries in every region. The Visual Capitalist did a nice job in pictorially showing this global view of happiness:

Global Happiness Levels 2021-Main-Graphic

How is Happiness Measured?

Some clear indicators are health and wealth, both metrics that have been steadily on the rise worldwide. The report takes these into account, weighting GDP per capita and life expectancy at birth into the scores.

The report also looks at more intangible aspects, collecting survey responses around:

  • Social support
  • Freedom to make life choices
  • Generosity
  • Perceptions of government/ business corruption
  • Positive or negative affects (Recent experience of emotions)

This year, there was a natural focus on the negative effect measure of the COVID-19 pandemic on happiness levels, such as exacerbating mental health risks. In addition, such measurements varied depending on each country’s response to the crisis.

Taking a look at the details of this report and making some general observations – here are some takeaways to consider:

  • In general, if you live in a country with a higher standard of living, you will be happier. Who would of thunk that?
  • Did political freedom make much a difference? Consider the difference between northern and southern Europe. With similar freedoms, the economic conditions seem to override political freedoms. The Saudi Arabia outlier also demonstrates this point as well.
  • Considering China is the up-and-coming power in the world, why did they score so low. Perhaps all is not so rosy in China.
  • The United States (7.0) and the United Kingdom (7.1) scored essentially the same.
  • Mexico and Central America did not score badly on this report. So why are so many willing to risk their lives and illegally immigrate to the US? Perhaps the perception of potential happiness is greater than reality.
  • India probably scored lower in this report due to coming off the recent horrific events of Covid19.
  • Obvious as well, conflict wars and extreme economic stress showed negative indications of happiness.

So is happiness all about money? Please give us your analysis in the comment section below.

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