MANILA, Philippines - Filipinos have been happier citizens in the past year – 10 notches higher, to be exact.
The Philippines ranked 72nd out of 155 countries in the World Happiness Report for 2017, according to data released yesterday by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations.
Last year, the country was No. 82 on the list.
The latest rankings show Norway as the happiest country on Earth, vaulting to the top from No. 4 in 2016, despite the plummeting price of oil, a key part of its economy.
It edged past previous leader Denmark, which fell to second. Iceland, Switzerland and Finland round out the top 5.
The United States is 14th in the latest rankings, down from No. 13 last year, and over the years Americans steadily have been rating themselves less happy.
“It’s the human things that matter. If the riches make it harder to have frequent and trustworthy relationship between people, is it worth it?” asked John Helliwell, lead author of the report and an economist at the University of British Columbia in Canada (ranked No. 7). “The material can stand in the way of the human.”
In Asia, Singapore is the happiest country, at No. 26 overall, followed by Thailand (32), Taiwan (33), Malaysia (42), Japan (51), Hong Kong (71), China (79) and Indonesia (81).
The Philippines scored high in the social support area measure of the Happiness Index (1.254), followed by gross domestic product (GDP) per capita (0.858), freedom to make life choices (0.585), health life expectancy (0.468), generosity (0.194) and perceptions of corruption (0.099).
The Philippines was also among top 20 gainers in terms of Changes in Happiness from 2005-2007 to 2014-2016, which showed average ladder scores increasing by 0.50 or more, alongside Thailand in Asia.
The Central African Republic fell to the last position on the list, and is joined at the bottom by Burundi, Tanzania, Syria and Rwanda. – With AP