UN survey names S’pore the happiest country in the region

UN survey names S’pore the happiest country in the region
Singapore is the happiest country in the Asia Pacific, says a survey. TODAY file photo
The happiest country in the world is Denmark
Published: 8:09 PM, March 16, 2016
Updated: 12:06 AM, March 17, 2016

SINGAPORE — Singaporeans may be fond of complaining about their lot in life, but that does not appear to have stopped the city-state from being ranked the happiest country in the Asia-Pacific by a new survey produced for the United Nations.

The survey, which polled about 3,000 people in each country and asked them to evaluate their life in 11 categories on a scale from 0 to 10, also ranked Singapore as the 22nd happiest country in the world. Singapore moved two notches up from the previous list.

Overall, Singapore scored 6.739 in the “happy index” of the World Happiness Report 2016, which was published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations.

Denmark, ranked the happiest country in the world, had a score of 7.526, followed by Switzerland with a score of 7.509. The other Asia-Pacific countries in the top 50 are Thailand (at No 33), Taiwan (35) and Malaysia (47). The unhappiest places on the list of 157 countries are Togo, Syria and Burundi.

According to the report, six key factors account for differences between the countries surveyed: Per capita Gross Domestic Product, level of social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity and freedom from corruption.

The report also ranks Singapore fourth in the global ranking of “equality of well-being”, a new measure that the editors are proposing to measure inequality. According to this ranking, a larger number would signify growing inequality.

In Singapore’s case, it got a score of 1.538, compared to 1.294 for Bhutan, which has the top ranking for equality. Meanwhile, South Sudan was last on the list at 3.044, making it the world’s most unequal society by this measure.

In the report’s introduction, the editors argued that “inequality of well-being provides a better measure of the distribution of welfare than is provided by income and wealth, which have thus far held centre stage when the levels and trends of inequality are being considered.”