Most people agree that societies should foster the happiness of their citizens. The U.S. Founding Fathers recognized the inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness. British philosophers talked about the greatest good for the greatest number. Bhutan has famously adopted the goal of Gross National Happiness (GNH) rather than Gross National Product. Even China champions a harmonious society. So, just how happy are we, and more generally speaking, how happy are the societies we live in? In an attempt to answer those questions, the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) developed the World Happiness Report and on September 9th, the body released the second edition of this interesting look at the world we live in.
Ultimately, an important takeaway beyond just the raw numbers of the study, is that there are undoubtedly major beneficial side-effects of happiness. Happy people live longer, are more productive, earn more, and are also better citizens. Well-being should be developed both for its own sake and for its side-effects, and the report is a call to action for policymakers across the globe to make happiness a key measure and target of development.
To find out more details about the program and the research it is conducting, visit the SDSN website or download the 2013 World Happiness Report in its entirety here.
2013 Report Highlights:
Most Unhappy Countries
- Central African Republic