The World Happiness Report 2015 was released on 23 April 2015. The report was published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) an initiative under the United Nations.
The report was topped by Switzerland followed by Iceland, Denmark, Norway and Canada. The World Happiness Report examined 158 countries and is aimed at influencing government policy.
Togo, Burundi, Benin and Rwanda, with civil-war wracked Syria, were least happy.
The study based its rankings on data from the Gallup World Poll and takes into account variables such as real GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy, corruption levels and social freedoms.
The SDSN is comprised of people from academia, government and the private sector and was first launched in 2012.
The World Happiness Report 2015 reveals trends in the data judging just how happy countries really are. On a scale running from 0 to 10, people in over 150 countries, surveyed by Gallup over the period 2012-15, reveal an average score of 5.1 (out of 10).
The 2015 report is the first to consider the findings by gender and age. Women’s evaluations of their wellbeing tended to be slightly stronger than those of men – on average 0.09 higher on a 10-point scale – although there were some variations by region.
Six key variables explain three-quarters of the variation in annual national average scores over time and among countries: real GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy, having someone to count on, perceived freedom to make life choices, freedom from corruption, and generosity.
The World Happiness Report 2015 shows that at both the individual and national levels, all measures of well-being, including emotions and life evaluations, are strongly influenced by the quality of the surrounding social norms and institutions.
The report also demonstrates that a key national challenge is to ensure that policies are designed and delivered in ways that enrich the social fabric, and teach the power of empathy to current and future generations.