Laos ranked as 89th happiest country on earth: report

Vientiane residents enjoy the capital’s bustling night market. - VT

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/Asia News Network): Laos has climbed to 89th place out of 137 countries and territories in the global happiness ranking, up by six places from last year’s report when 146 countries were included.

The World Happiness Report 2023 was released on March 20, which the United Nations proclaimed as International Day of Happiness in 2013.

Country rankings this year are based on life evaluations in 2020, 2021 and 2022, so all of the observations are drawn from years of high infection and deaths from Covid-19.

Finland continues to occupy the top spot, for the sixth year in a row, with a score that is significantly ahead of all other countries. It was followed by frequent top runners Denmark, Iceland, Israel, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland and Luxembourg as top 10 happiest nations.

Afghanistan again ranks the lowest in the world, followed by Lebanon, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Singapore was categorised as the happiest in South-Eeast Asia, taking 25th place. Laos is ranked above Myanmar and Cambodia, which earned 117th and 115th places respectively.

Life evaluations from the Gallup World Poll provide the basis for the happiness rankings.

The factors that affect a country’s ranking include GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy (which, other than life expectancy, also includes physical and mental health), freedom to make life choices (human rights), generosity, and perception of corruption.

Laos has performed better in terms of equality, with the happiness gap between the happier and the less happy halves of its population ranking at 51th place (ranking from the smallest to the largest gap). Higher ranking means lower happiness inequality.

Afghanistan has the smallest happiness gap, followed by the Netherlands, Finland, Iceland and Belgium.

But Liberia has the largest happiness gap, followed by the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique respectively.

Vietnam is the best performer in South-East Asia, having the narrowest happiness gap as it takes the 20th place in this category.

The World Happiness Report is a Sustainable Development Solutions Network publication, powered by the Gallup World Poll data.

International Day of Happiness aims to recognise the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals and aspirations in the lives of human beings around the world and the importance of their recognition in public policy objectives.

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