Report: Philippines 2nd ‘happiest’ country in Southeast Asia

Report: Philippines 2nd �happiest� country in Southeast Asia
Children play at a "Snowy Christmas Village" spot of a mall in Baguio City on October 23, 2023.
STAR / Andy Zapata

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines is the second “happiest” country in the Southeast Asian region.

Ranking 53rd in the “2024 World Happiness Report,” which is a significant leap from the 76th spot in 2023, the Philippines was only edged out by Singapore, which ranked 30th, as the top place in the Southeast Asian region.

The annual global report was edited by Professor Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, an expert of economics and behavioral science at the University of Oxford. Results of the survey were published on March 20, 2024 by the MailOnline, a website of the Daily Mail, a tabloid newspaper in the United Kingdom.

The United Kingdom and the United States have seen their ranking lowered in this year’s happiness survey of more than 140 countries. The UK ranked 20th this year, one spot behind than last year’s 19th, while the US ranked 23rd this year, down from the 15th spot in 2023.

Filipinos said they were generally happy when asked to rate their lives using a scale from 1 to 10. Each country’s average score was calculated based on the ratings within the past three years.

The report is based on self-reported data from people surveyed in each country.

The dramatic enhancement in the happiness of Filipinos coincided with the rise in the satisfaction, trust, and approval ratings of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. revealed in two independent national surveys.  

The Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey conducted from December 8 to 11, 2023 showed 65% of adult Filipinos were satisfied with the performance of the President.

Meanwhile, in the OCTA Research Group’s “Tugon ng Masa” survey conducted on December 10-14, 2023, respondents gave the Chief Executive a score of 76% trust rating and a 71% approval rating. The two scores are higher than the 73% trust rating and 65% approval rating received by the President in October 2023.

Rounding up the Southeast Asian regional country ratings are Vietnam (54th); Thailand (58th); Malaysia (59th); Indonesia (80th); Laos (94th); Myanmar (118th); and Cambodia (119th).

In the 2024 World Happiness Report, China ranked 60th, Japan, 51st, and South Korea 52nd.

Top 10 countries are: Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, Israel, The Netherlands, Norway, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and Australia.

Finland, home to 5.5 million, has been the “happiest” country in the past seven years, according to the report.

The bottom 10 countries are: Yemen, Zambia, Eswatini, Malawi, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Congo, Sierra Leone, Lebanon and Afghanistan.

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