Known As The Kingdom Of Happiness, Why Is Bhutan Ranked 95th In The World Happiness Report 2019?

Email

The discrepancy in the results provided by the World Happiness Report and the GNH Survey lies in the criteria and methodology used to assess ‘Happiness’.

Happy girls dancing in Haa Valley, Bhutan. (Source: Hiveminer)

 

By Staff Writer | Daily Bhutan 

The World Happiness Report is a landmark survey of the state of global happiness in which 156 nations are ranked by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be.

The 2019 report specifically focusses on happiness and the community and how happiness has evolved over the past 12 years.

The report also examines the way that social norms, technologies, conflicts and government policies have shaped happiness over the years. It is produced by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, in partnership with the Ernesto Illy Foundation and written by a group of independent experts acting in their personal capacities.

Launch of the 2019 World Happiness Report on the International Day of Happiness

In 2011, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution which recognised happiness as a fundamental human goal. It called for a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes happiness and well-being.

In 2012, the first ever UN conference on Happiness took place and the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution which decreed that the International Day of Happiness would be observed every year on 20 March. It was celebrated for the first time in 2013.

The World Happiness Report 2019 was released by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations on 20 March. As one of the Bhutanese attending the high-powered event in the grand dining room of the UN Headquarters, one could not help but wonder why Bhutan was ranked 95th.

Graphic: World Happiness Report 2019

 

Where did we go wrong? And do we really deserve this ranking? On second thoughts, I figured out the reasons - we have our very own version of measuring happiness using the Gross National Happiness (GNH) survey which differs from the criteria used for the World Happiness Report.

According to the last GNH Survey conducted by the Centre for Bhutan Studies and Gross National Happiness in 2015, the 2015 GNH index showed that on the scale of zero to one, the happiness of the Bhutanese has increased from 0.743 in 2010 to 0.756 in 2015.

This translates into an overall increase of 1.8%. Moreover, 91.2% of people reported experiencing happiness while 43.4% of people said that they are deeply happy.

Therefore, the discrepancy in the results provided by the World Happiness Report and the GNH Survey lies in the criteria and methodology used to assess ‘Happiness’.

Criteria and methodology used by the World Happiness Report

The World Happiness Report (WHR) ranks countries on six key variables that support well-being: income, freedom, trust, healthy life expectancy, social support and generosity.

The WHR happiness index is ranked through a Gallup survey based on a questionnaire of the variables, using a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the happiest.

The Scandinavian countries such as Norway and Denmark which took the top 5 positions, scored well above 7.00 while Bhutan scored 5.082.

 

Source: Youtube/TIME

However, based on the results given by our respondents of 2000 Bhutanese, the GNH survey done by the Center for Bhutan Studies in 2015 yielded a score of 6.88. This would have ranked Bhutan somewhere around the 20th position in the WHR 2019.

Criteria and methodology used by the GNH survey 2015

Since the foundation of Bhutan, spirituality and compassion have been integrated with governance. Moreover, this integration has occurred at both the personal and the institutional level. The GNH Survey and the GNH Index are designed to guide actions to advance happiness all across Bhutan.

 

 

Graphic: Centre for Bhutan Studies and Gross National Happiness

 

The criteria used by the GNH Index is holistic and explores each persons’ life in nine domains: (1) psychological wellbeing, (2) health, (3) education, (4) time use, (5) cultural diversity and resilience, (6) good governance, (7) community vitality, (8) ecological diversity and resilience, and lastly (9) living standards.

Another factor which could have caused Bhutan to be ranked 95th is its relatively low GDP per capita compared with Scandinavian countries that dominate the top 10 positions.

According to The Straits Times, 7 things to know about the 2017 World Happiness Report, this could also explain why Bhutan, “apocryphally regarded as the happiest nation in the world for inventing the Gross National Happiness metric, has somehow never performed well on the Happiness Report.”

 


Related Posts

Rethinking Development – What The World Can Learn From Bhutan,...

"I certainly hope that we will have the humbleness and the wisdom to study and learn from Bhutan," said Marcus Baltzer.

Mar 27, 2019 15:58

Applying Bhutan’s Tenets Of Gross National Happiness As...

The UNDP Administrator said that there was an extraordinary alignment between the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 and...

Mar 19, 2019 10:38

Prof Thurman Extols Bhutan’s Concept Of Gross National Happiness...

"His Majesty The Fourth King came up with the brilliant concept of Gross National Happiness, which is going to conquer...

Nov 26, 2018 07:48

Delegates From California Hopes To Replicate Bhutan’s Gross...

Tandi Dorji of Tara Tours and Trek said that the delegation came to work out a way to replicate GNH in California.

Nov 21, 2018 17:09

Bhutanese Youth Devised Gross National Happiness Projects At The...

About 30 students attended the workshop from seven colleges in Bhutan.

Jul 16, 2018 18:41

We Will Not Measure Bhutan’s Progress Only By GDP: Prime Minister...

GDP is a 'wrong tool' to measure progress when it comes to the target of narrowing the income gap.

Jan 27, 2019 15:09

Latest

News

What are the endangered birds of Bhutan?

Bhutan is home to 26 endangered birds. One of these birds even has its own festival.

Jul 19, 2021 10:35

Removing Bhutan’s import taxes on sanitary products is crucial for period equity

What might elimination of the 30 percent import tax on sanitary supplies mean for Bhutanese citizens?

Jul 12, 2021 10:48

Features

What are the endangered mammals of Bhutan?

Currently, Bhutan is home to nine endangered mammals, with one being critically endangered.

Jul 23, 2021 16:30

All you need to know about De-suups (Guardians of Peace) in Bhutan

Whenever there’s a disaster, trouble, or a need, the guardians of peace are deployed, almost like magic.

Jul 02, 2021 10:35

Business

What are the entrepreneurship programmes and initiatives available in Bhutan?

The Bhutanese government has introduced all kinds of initiatives to promote entrepreneurship. Even school kids are groomed to innovate,...

Jun 22, 2021 16:37

Support authentic Bhutanese handicrafts by local artisans

Whether you are interested in artisanal Bhutanese handicrafts or boutique sourced products with contemporary touch, the incredible...

Mar 25, 2021 12:09

Sports

What are the traditional sports of Bhutan?

The Bhutanese have a variety of traditional sports. Some test your aim and skills, whereas with others, it’s about pure brute strength.

Jul 13, 2021 11:15

What's with the unique archery culture in Bhutan?

In Bhutan, archery is more than just a sport. It is a way of life. The dancing, the singing, the drinking—it is a manifestation of the...

Apr 19, 2021 10:40

Travel

Travel to Bhutan: experience the charm of Paro district

Paro district receives the highest volume of travellers annually. It's also easily one of tourists favourite places in Bhutan.

Jul 14, 2021 11:20

Travel to Bhutan: attractions in the capital of Bhutan, Thimphu

Western Bhutan is the perfect region to learn more about the beautiful kingdom for those who are visiting Bhutan for the first time.

Jun 29, 2021 12:58

Lifestyle

How to identify female or male Bhutanese names?

Organizational Psychologist Joyce E. A. Russell observed, “A person’s name is the greatest connection to their own identity and...

Jul 09, 2021 13:19

Where to satisfy your momo cravings in Thimphu, Bhutan

You can't go wrong with momo. It's almost always the answer to a growling stomach and social events.

Jun 28, 2021 11:20

COVID-19

Bhutan, with a leading vaccination rate in the region, commenced its second vaccination drive

Bhutan's second nationwide vaccination campaign will be held from July 20 - July 26, 2021.

Jul 21, 2021 11:05

Paro International Airport is certified as a safe airport for travellers

Paro International Airport was awarded the Certificate of Accreditation by Airports Council International (ACI).

Jul 16, 2021 17:43

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!