Filipinos less happy in 2020, says World Happiness Report

Filipinos felt less happy in 2020, a year marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, based on an annual survey that measures the levels of happiness of people around the world.

According to the 2021 World Happiness Report, the Philippines ranked 61st among 149 countries, with a score of 5.88. The report uses the average of the scores in the 3 previous years, or from 2018 to 2020.

This is down from the 52nd place the country got, with a score of 6.006, out of 153 countries in the previous year's report that used the 2017-2019 average.

The report also isolated the 2020 score as a way to assess the impact of COVID-19 in people's happiness. In this assessment, the Philippines ranked 74th among 95 countries surveyed that year, getting a score of only 5.08.

This is lower than the 42nd place the Philippines landed when compared to the 2017-2019 results – which reflect levels of happiness before COVID-19 struck – of the same 95 countries.

Finland remained at the top of the rankings for the 4th year in a row, with a score of 7.842 in the 2018-2020 average (and 7.889 in 2020 alone). It is followed in the Top 5 by fellow European countries Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, and the Netherlands in the 2018-2020 listing.

On the other hand, Afghanistan was in last place among the 149 countries in the 2018-2020 results, followed by Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Botswana, and Lesotho.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe ranked last among the 95 countries surveyed in 2020, followed by Tanzania, Jordan, India, and Cambodia.

The report took on new meaning in 2020 due to COVID-19. It found out that despite the pandemic, "global life evaluations have shown remarkable resilience."

"COVID-19 has led to only modest changes in the overall rankings, reflecting both the global nature of the pandemic and a widely shared resilience in the face of it," the report said.

However, the report noted that among negative emotions, worry and sadness "have both shown statistically significant increases for the global sample of countries, while anger has not changed." Meanwhile, among positive emotions, "both laughter and enjoyment yesterday were mostly unchanged between 2017-2019 and 2020."

"The pandemic's toll on negative emotions is clear, with 42 countries showing significantly higher frequency of negative emotions, compared to 9 where they were significantly less frequent," added the report. "Positive emotions lie in the middle ground, with 22 countries on the upside and 25 heading down, in all cases relative to the average values in 2017-2019."

The World Happiness Report measures respondents' subjective well-being based on 3 main indicators: life evaluations, positive emotions, and negative emotions. It also factors in other measures like gross domestic product (GDP), social support, life expectancy, personal freedom, and perceptions of corruption to arrive at a happiness score for each country.

The World Happiness Report is released annually by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and uses data from the Gallup World Poll and Lloyd's Register Foundation. – Rappler.com

Michael Bueza

Michael is a data curator under Rappler's Tech Team. He works on data about elections, governance, and the budget. He also follows the Philippine pro wrestling scene and the WWE. Michael is also part of the Laffler Talk podcast trio.

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