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Happier Malaysians put us five spots up in world happiness report

21 March 2017

In 2013, the National Academy of Sciences issued a report recommending that federal statistics and surveys, which normally deal with income, spending, health and housing, include a few extra questions on happiness because it would lead to better policy that affects people's lives.

Other factors by which 155 countries were measured in the annual World Happiness Report are: employment, income inequality, life expectancy, GDP per capita, public trust (i.e., a lack of corruption in government and business), and social support.

"America's crisis is, in short, a social crisis, not an economic crisis", the study notes.

It has been revealed through the World Happiness Report 2017 released by a United Nations (UN) agency that a Pakistani citizen continues to be happier than an Indian. Together it is used to generate a happiness score from 1 to 10.

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Meanwhile, Norway was ranked as the happiest country.

"The chapter defines misery as being below a cutoff value for life satisfaction, and shows by how much the fraction of the population in misery would be reduced if it were possible to eliminate poverty", reads an excerpt from a chapter on the key factors determining happiness and unhappiness.

"By choosing to produce oil deliberately and investing the proceeds for the benefit of future generations, Norway has protected itself from the volatile ups and downs of many other oil-rich economies".

"This emphasis on the future over the present is made easier by high levels of mutual trust, shared objective, generosity, and good governance".

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Happiness research and measurement has gone mainstream ever since India's tiny neighbor Bhutan brought it to the forefront by arguing that it was more meaningful than mere economic metrics such as GDP and inflation. The U.S. ranked 14th on the most recent rankings average. This is a national problem: America's rank on the happiness scale is falling. Surprisingly Bhutan, the Himalayan country known for putting an emphasis on its citizens' well-being rather than economic development, is placed a dismal 97th in this latest ranking, down from 84th previous year. According to the report, some of the unhappiest nations in the world are Afghanistan, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Haiti.

The report considers several factors that contribute to happiness and well-being in everyday life.

"Canada has demonstrated a considerable success with multiculturalism; the United States has not tried very hard", writes Sachs. Income in the United States has gone up over the past decade, but happiness is declining.

"And the prescriptions for faster growth - mainly deregulation and tax cuts - are likely to exacerbate, not reduce social tensions".

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USA scored 6.99 points and dropped one place to 14th, while Ireland found the 15th position. Sachs sees a discrepancy in how the US government generates policy-with a focus on economic wellbeing-and how the American people are feeling. For example, there is more perceived corruption in the USA now than in 2006-07.

Happier Malaysians put us five spots up in world happiness report