17 Feb

Map of the Week: World Happiness Map

By: Kelly Young

Happiness is something that isn’t often associated with geography. However, geography plays a larger role in our daily happiness than we likely assume, influencing political tensions, diets and lifestyles. A map published by Visual Capitalist uses data from the 2019 World Happiness Report to determine the happiest country in the world and on each continent. The World Happiness Report obtains data directly from the citizens of each country and focuses heavily on the influence of technology, social norms, government tensions and national conflicts. Each country is ranked on a scale from 2-8, 2 being the most unhappy and 8 being very happy.

On a global scale, Finland is ranked the happiest country with a rating of 7.7. Close behind in second place is Canada and Australia, each with a rating of 7.3. Africa’s South Sudan earned the rating as the unhappiest country in the world, with a rating of 2.9.

According to the study, the United States perceived happiness rating dropped for the third year in a row, this time hitting an all-time low of 6.9. The drop in United States happiness ratings is likely due to increases in drug use, workaholism, political unrest and internet usage. In North America as a whole, happiness ratings exceeded the global average by 13% with a rating of 6.2. Haiti, which has had a slow recovery from the 2010 earthquake, ranked unhappiest in North America, while Canada was labeled the happiest country.

The happiness ratings are closely related to quality of life, work, and political unrest, which varies geographically. In Europe, citizens have a more stable work-life balance, which contributed to a 16% higher happiness rating across the continent when compared to global averages. Finland, the happiest country in the world, expressed high levels of national security and stability, while countries in Africa suffer from increased civil unrest and government corruption. Europe’s overall rating was 6.3 while Africa’s rating was 4.4, showing how differences in life quality can contribute to variations in perceived happiness.

Overall, the World Happiness Report reveals trends in perceived happiness based on geographical location. To learn more about the happiness index, check out the following article: https://www.visualcapitalist.com/visualizing-the-happiest-country-on-every-continent/