Nigeria is still on top the world’s list of happier countries despite all economic and human crisis trying to devour the country’s hope of a greater future. The report, prepared and released on Wednesday, March 16, by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the Earth Institute at Columbia University, showed Syria, Afghanistan and eight sub-Saharan countries as the 10 least places on earth where happiness is hard to come by.
The top 10 happy countries to live in this year were; Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Canada, Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia, and Sweden. Denmark was in third place last year, behind Switzerland and Iceland.
The bottom 10 were Madagascar, Tanzania, Liberia, Guinea, Rwanda, Benin, Afghanistan, Togo, Syria and Burundi, thereby ranking them as the unhappy countries in the world to live in.
South Africa was ranked 116th, coming in behind Ethiopia (115), Namibia (113), Iraq (112) and Nigeria (103). Nigeria is apparently ‘happier’ than some of its neighbours including Cameroon (114th), Ghana (124th) and South Africa (116th) with Zimbabwe ranked 131, Botswana 137 and Zambia 140.
The United States came in at 13, the United Kingdom at 23, France at 32, and Italy at 50.
Message To Nigeria
For a struggling and developing African country like Nigeria, there’s still a great future ahead, waiting up for grasp. It is said that “Most often we look so long at the closed door that we forget to focus on what possibilities lies towards the opened door.” There is a lesson to be learned from the top happiest countries following the factors on which the ranking is based, and that is: GDP per capita, Social support, Healthy life expectancy, Freedom to make life choices, Generosity, Perceptions of corruption, etc.
Professor Jeffrey Sachs, head of the SDSN and special adviser to U.N. Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon had a message for his country, here’s what he said:
“There is a very strong message for my country, the United States, which is very rich, has gotten a lot richer over the last 50 years, but has gotten no happier. While the differences between countries where people are happy and those where they are not could be scientifically measured, we can understand why and do something about.
“The message for the United States is clear. For a society that just chases money, we are chasing the wrong things. Our social fabric is deteriorating, social trust is deteriorating, faith in government is deteriorating.”
Aiming to “survey the scientific underpinnings of measuring and understanding subjective well-being,” the report, now in its fourth edition, ranks 157 countries by happiness levels using factors such as per capita gross domestic product (GDP) and healthy years of life expectancy.
It also rates “having someone to count on in times of trouble” and freedom from corruption in government and business.
“When countries single-mindedly pursue individual objectives, such as economic development to the neglect of social and environmental objectives, the results can be highly adverse for human wellbeing, even dangerous for survival.
“Many countries in recent years have achieved economic growth at the cost of sharply rising inequality, entrenched social exclusion, and grave damage to the natural environment.”
The first report was issued in 2012 to support a U.N. meeting on happiness and well-being. Five countries – Bhutan, Ecuador, Scotland, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela – now have appointed Ministers of Happiness charged with promoting it as a goal of public policy.
The 2016 survey showed that three countries in particular, Ireland, Iceland and Japan, were able to maintain their happiness levels despite external shocks such as the post-2007 economic crisis and the 2011 earthquake because of social support and solidarity.
Mr. Sachs pointed to Costa Rica, which came in 14th and ahead of many wealthier countries, as an example of a healthy, happy society although it is not an economic powerhouse.