World Happiness Report & Why India is at 139 position in it?

World Happiness Report & Why India is at 139 position in it?

Recently, United Nations (UN) released World Happiness Report which measures countries happiness based on some factors. In this report, India stood at 139 out of 149 countries. It means that India is 11th worst country in terms of happiness.

In 2015. India’s happiness report stood at 4.565 points and now it is at 3.819. On the other hand, India’s neighbouring countries including Pakistan, performed better than India. Pakistan stood at 105 rank, Bangladesh at 101, Nepal at 87 and China at 84. The countries that topped this list are Finland, Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland and Netherlands.

So, how this happiness report is calculated and what are the factors to calculate it? What are the limitations of this report and reasons behind India’s such low performance! Let’s find out!

Need of Happiness Report!

It is important to know why there is need to calculate happiness report if we have GDP numbers to measure success or development of a country. Because, GDP is just a economic indicator, it does not tell the happiness among people of country.

Sometimes, GDP can rise due to unimportant factors. Like if a country is at war, than more and more people will be recruited and more factories will be establish to make weapon. It result to increase in GDP numbers, but in reality it just causes pain to the people of country.

So to know real situation of any country, it is important to calculate Happiness report.

Calculation of Happiness Report!

United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network issue report every year named as World Happiness Report. And this report is based on six factors. Then through these six factors, happiness report of a country is measured and than it is compared with other countries.

The six measure are:-

Out of these six factors, hard data on first two factors is available to UN. But to calculate other factors, surveys happen from a sample size of 1000- 3000 people of each country. In these surveys, questions needs to be answer with rating from 1 to 10. This scale is called Cantril Life Ladder, 0 means worst possible life and 10 means best possible life. Here are the questions that are asked from the sample size!

  • Social Support– ”If you were in trouble, do you have relatives or friends you can count on to help you whenever you need them, or not?” You need to answer it through a scale of 0 to 10. 0 means you do not count anyone to help and 10 means you have someone to count on.
  • Freedom to make life choices – ” Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with your freedom to choose what you do with your life?”
  • Generosity – ”Have you donated money to charity in the past month?”
  • Perception of Corruption – ”Is corruption widespread throughout the government or not? Is corruption widespread within business or not?”

From all these factors, a score is assign to a country and it ranges from 0 to 8, meaning 0 worst and 8 best.

India’s Score in World Happiness Report

India’s score in World Happiness Report is 3.89 and rank is 149 which is not a very good score. From 2015 it is at decline. In 2015, India’s score was 4.565 with 117 rank. On the other hand, if we compare India’s rank from 2005-2008 with 2016-2018, it has decline by -1.137 which is fourth most declined country.

In terms of different factors, India’s worst performance is 142 out of 149 countries in terms of Social Support. On the other side, it’s score is better in terms of freedom, corruption and generosity.

Limitations of the Report and Reasons behind India’s low score!

The limitation of the report is the answer given by people based on their perception. The answer can be influence from different environment of different countries. The two factors which are data based are accurate and correct. But other four factors are based on answer by people which are based on their own perception.

For example, from below image you can see, India got worst marks in term of social support, 3.573. But is this means, in India, friends and families don’t help their loved ones. It can be wrong because people may had answer it on the base of their expectations. That’s why they gave less ratings as their expectations didn’t met with the reality.

On the other hand, India has better rank in terms of freedom. This means that people, may compare their freedom with neighbour countries like of China and Pakistan.

But if India’s neighbour country will have been a highly developed country, then India’s score may have been lesser, as people may have compared themselves with people of developed country.


Even after the limitations in the report, the ratings are not really useless or wrong. If we compare India’s 2021 rank and score with previous years scores, then we will find that, India’s happiness score has really declined. So, this means that Freedom, GDP, generosity has really declined in India.

Also, we should not criticise the report, because it just show the real situation of the country and this really needs to improve.

Thank you for reading!

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