Australia amongst the top 10 happiest countries in the world

first_imgIn honour of the International Day of Happiness on Monday 20 March, the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UNSDSN) published the 2017 World Happiness Report, ranking Australia ninth amongst the ten happiest countries worldwide. Although happiness is a difficult thing to measure, the report, which is the fifth to be released since 2012 and which ranks 155 countries by their happiness levels, is considered a landmark survey and continues to gain global recognition as governments, organisations, and civil society increasingly use happiness indicators to shape their policy-making decisions.The report starts with global and regional charts showing the distribution of answers, from roughly 3000 respondents in each UN member state, to a question asking them to evaluate their current lives on a scale where zero represents the worst possible life and ten the best. The measure of happiness used by the UNSDSN’s independent researchers is life satisfaction. A typical question is: “Overall, how satisfied are you with your life these days?” measured on a scale from ‘extremely dissatisfied’ to ‘extremely satisfied’.The annual study examines the connections between happiness and development, while encouraging policymakers to place more of an emphasis on happiness, rather than the more easily quantifiable measures of development. Researchers correlate data from six areas: GDP per capita, life expectancy, social support, trust and corruption, perceived freedom to make life decisions, and generosity. Up from number four last year, Norway is, according to the report, the happiest country in the world while it also has the highest GDP per capita. But, as the UN shows in its Human Development yearly report, Norway has conquered the top spot for the 13th year in a row, which possibly also answers the question about what makes this country so liveable and its people so happy; development. The mix of a well-integrated government welfare system and a thriving economy built on responsible management of its natural resources means that very few are left behind and the feelings of social support, trust in government, and economic well-being that come from that all contribute to overall happiness. Slipping one spot down from the top of the list, Denmark did extremely well coming in at number two followed by Iceland, where 99 per cent of respondents claimed that they had a high level of social support and felt like they had a fellow citizen to count on if things got tough. Switzerland and Finland came fourth and fifth respectively.Scoring below Canada and New Zealand, Australia still managed to be in the top ten, coming in at number nine, leaving Sweden behind. “We like to think we were on to something when we called Australia our 2016 Destination of the Year. In addition to a healthy work-life balance and ‘no worries’ stress levels, Australians also have one of the highest life expectancies in the world (82.15 years). It helps that a strong emphasis on physical activity is baked into the education system from a young age,” Condé Nast Traveller contributor, Sebastian Modak, wrote after the results were announced. “I think the most crucial factor which puts Australia high on the list of the happiest countries in the world is the strong social foundations, and the trust that the residents have in their social and political institutions,” explains Greek Australian doctor Philipos Lisgos. “There is generally, for the entire population, a lack of inequality and lack of disparities in access to education, healthcare, and other social and government services and there is also a meritocratic system in place with very low levels of corruption. These features combined with a well-developed social welfare and support infrastructure, a relatively high domestic product and income per capita, provide for a happy population with regard to the socio-economic aspect.”Irrespective of the findings, Australia, the only nation to govern an entire continent and its outlying islands, is overall a stable, democratic, and culturally diverse nation with a highly skilled workforce and one of the strongest performing economies in the world. The quality of life is even better thanks to lower population density compared to most equivalent international cities, low pollution levels and a modern and efficient infrastructure. “There is also the diversity of lifestyles and the outdoors, which Australians have the opportunity to enjoy due to the multicultural makeup of the population and favourable climatic conditions. I feel there is also a great balance between leisure time and work time compared to many other developed countries,” Dr Lisgos explains. Australian society, especially its youngest generation, is well-travelled, multicultural, carefree and quite open-minded. If there’s one thing that’s certain, it would have to be the fact that Australia is a new country, and although it may not have the history of some countries, it surely has a bright future ahead. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img

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