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Happiest Countries 2018: The Southeast Asian Rankings
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Happiest Countries 2018: The Southeast Asian Rankings

The World Happiness Report is a landmark survey of the state of global happiness. The World Happiness Report 2018, ranks 156 countries by their happiness levels, and 117 countries by the happiness of their immigrants.

The main focus of this year’s report, in addition to its usual ranking of the levels and changes in happiness around the world, is on migration within and between countries.

The overall rankings of country happiness are based on the pooled results from Gallup World Poll surveys from 2015-2017, and show both change and stability.

There is a new top ranking country, Finland, but the top ten positions are held by the same countries as in the last two years, although with some swapping of places. Four different countries have held a top spot in the four most recent reports- Denmark, Switzerland, Norway and now Finland.

All the top countries tend to have high values for all six of the key variables that have been found to support well-being: income (GDP per capita), healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust and generosity. Among the top countries, differences are small enough that that year-to-year changes in the rankings are to be expected.

The author is assured that readers are eager to know the Southeast Asian spots in this Happiest Countries 2018 ranking, therefore herewith is the countries with their average score of the quality of their current lives on a scale of 0 to 10:

Note: Only Brunei not listed within the 156-countries ranked.

RANK COUNTRIES SCORE
34 Singapore 6.343
35 Malaysia 6.322
46 Thailand 6.072
71 Philippines 5.524
95 Vietnam 5.103
96 Indonesia 5.093
110 Laos 4.623
120 Cambodia 4.433
130 Myanmar 4.308
     

Overall, the model explains quite well the life evaluation differences within as well as between regions and for the world as a whole.

↘ GDP per capita is in terms of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) adjusted to constant 2011 international dollars, taken from the World Development Indicators (WDI) released by the World Bank in September 2017. GDP data for 2017 are not yet available, so the report extended the time series from 2016 to 2017 using country-specific forecasts of real GDP growth from the OECD Economic Outlook No. 102 (Edition November 2017) and the World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects (Last Updated: 06/04/2017), after adjustment for population growth. The equation uses the natural log of GDP per capita, as this form fits the data significantly better than GDP per capita.

↘ The time series of healthy life expectancy at birth are instructed based on data from the World Health Organization (WHO) and WDI. WHO publishes the data on healthy life expectancy for the year 2012. The time series of life expectancies, with no adjustment for health, are available in WDI. The report adopts the following strategy to construct the time series of healthy life expectancy at birth: first we generate the ratios of healthy life expectancy to life expectancy in 2012 for countries with both data. Then, the report apply the country-specific ratios to other years to generate the healthy life expectancy data.

↘ Social support is the national average of the binary responses (either 0 or 1) to the Gallup World Poll (GWP) question “If you were in trouble, do you have relatives or friends you can count on to help you whenever you need them, or not?”

↘ Freedom to make life choices is the national average of binary responses to the GWP question “Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with your freedom to choose what you do with your life?”

↘ Generosity is the residual of regressing the national average of GWP responses to the question “Have you donated money to a charity in the past month?” on GDP per capita.

↘ Positive affect is defined as the average of previous-day affect measures for happiness, laughter, and enjoyment for GWP waves 3-7 (years 2008 to 2012, and some in 2013). It is defined as the average of laughter and enjoyment for other waves where the happiness question was not asked.

Source : The World Happiness Report 2018

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