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Covid-19: Pandemic fails to dent happiness of nations

AP
Filed on March 19, 2021 | Last updated on March 19, 2021 at 10.18 pm
Reuters

The editors of the 2021 World Happiness Report found that while emotions changed as the pandemic set in, longer-term satisfaction with life was less affected.

The coronavirus brought a year of fear and anxiety, loneliness and lockdown, and illness and death, but an annual report on happiness around the world released on Friday suggests the pandemic has not crushed people's spirits.

The editors of the 2021 World Happiness Report found that while emotions changed as the pandemic set in, longer-term satisfaction with life was less affected.

"What we have found is that when people take the long view, they've shown a lot of resilience in this past year," Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs, one of the report's co-author, said from New York.

The annual report, produced by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, ranks 149 countries based on gross domestic product per person, healthy life expectancy and the opinions of residents. Surveys ask respondents to indicate on a 1-10 scale how much social support they feel they have if something goes wrong, their freedom to make their own life choices, their sense of how corrupt their society is and how generous they are.

Due to the pandemic, the surveys were done in slightly fewer than 100 countries for this year's World Happiness Report, the ninth one compiled since the project started. Index rankings for the other nations was based on estimates from past data.

The results from both methods had European countries occupying nine of the top 10 spots on the list of the word's happiest places, with New Zealand rounding out the group. The top 10 countries are Finland, Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Luxembourg, New Zealand and Austria.

It was the fourth consecutive year that Finland came out on top. The United States, which was at No. 13 five years ago, slipped from 18th to 19th place. On a shortened list ranking only those countries surveyed, the US placed 14th.

The UAE continues to be one of the top nations in happiness quotient with the country occupying the 25th place and is well ahead of the most Arab nations.





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