Republic ranks as the 19th happiest country in the world

World Happiness Report 2016 says Irish remained positive despite economic crisis

The State has been ranked the 19th happiest country on the planet in a new report. File photograph: ThinkStock

The State has been ranked the 19th happiest country on the planet in a new report. File photograph: ThinkStock

 

The State has been ranked the 19th happiest country on the planet in a new report, which also found that Irish positivity has prevailed in the face of bleak economic conditions.

The World Happiness Report 2016, compiled by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), singled out the Republic, alongside Japan and Iceland, for maintaining happiness levels despite external shocks.

Denmark overtook Switzerland as the happiest country in this year’s report.

Iceland, Norway, Finland, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden made up the rest of the top 10.

At the bottom were Madagascar, Tanzania, Liberia, Guinea, Rwanda, Benin, Afghanistan, Togo, Syria and Burundi.

The US was in 13th position, Germany was in 16th, the UK in 23rd, France in 32nd and Italy in 50th.

A total of 157 countries were assessed.

The report is based on criteria including per capita gross domestic product (GDP), life expectancy, having “someone to count on” and being free of government and business corruption.

It first emerged in 2012 in support of the UN meeting on happiness and wellbeing.

Economic crisis

The 2016 report said: “With respect to the post-2007 economic crisis, the best examples of happiness maintenance in the face of large external shocks are Ireland and especially Iceland.

“Both suffered decimation of their banking systems as extreme as anywhere, and yet have suffered incommensurately small happiness losses.

“In the Icelandic case, the post-shock recovery in life evaluations has been great enough to put Iceland third in the global rankings for 2013-2015.

“There is a continuing high degree of social support in both countries.

“The percentage of people who report that they have someone to count on in times of crisis is exceptionally high in Iceland and Ireland.”

The report said those who are happy are more likely to live long lives, to be more trusting, more cooperative and better able to cope with life’s demands.

Prof Jeffrey Sachs, head of the SDSN and special advisor to UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, said the report contained a strong message for the US, which has gotten no happier despite becoming richer.

“The message for the US is clear. For a society that just chases money, we are chasing the wrong things.

“Our social fabric is deteriorating, social trust is deteriorating, faith in government is deteriorating,” he said.