The World Happiness Report recently released their 2016 Update. The report ranks 157 countries by their levels of happiness based on six factors: levels of GDP, life expectancy, generosity, social support, freedom, and corruption. This year, the report also measured inequality in the distribution of well-being.
What determines rankings
The report uses data from The Gallup World Poll, which tracks issues such as access to food and employment, how leaders are performing, and overall well-being of the population. The report measures each nation against the imaginary country Dystopia, which has the least happiness possible. This year, the report gave special consideration to “the measurement and consequences of inequality in the distribution of well-being among countries and regions” and found that “people are happier living in societies where there is less inequality of happiness.” The report also determined that inequality of happiness has been significantly increasing over the last four years within most countries and worldwide.
The Happiest Countries in Africa
Algeria was the first country from the continent to appear on the list. The North African nation was ranked at number 38. GDP and social support were the country’s strongest aspects, and equality of happiness was found to be relatively good.
The island nation Mauritius ranked at number 66 on the list and number 2 in Africa. GDP, social support, and healthy life expectancy were found to be strong. There was less equality of happiness than Algeria, but also a very low perception of corruption compared to other countries.
Surprisingly, Libya came directly after Mauritius at number 67 on the list. GDP and social support were once again the country’s strong points, with the latter being more important in Libya. However, inequality of happiness was high in the North African country.
Coming in at number 76 in the list of happiest places in the world was Somalia. Unlike the rest of the nations, GDP was not a big factor contributing to happiness. Freedom to make life choices was the main factor, followed by social support, generosity, and perception of corruption. Inequality of happiness was high.
Tunisia was ranked at number 98, with GDP returning as the top factor for happiness. Healthy life expectancy was the second most important factor, followed by social support. Equality of happiness was better in Tunisia compared to the other African nations.
The Least Happiest Countries in Africa
Burundi was at the very bottom of the list, ranked at number 157. The country deals with poverty, corruption, poor access to health, and limited education. GDP, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, and perception of corruption were all very low. Equality of happiness was not strong either.
The sub-Saharan African country was ranked at number 155, just above Syria. The strongest factor for happiness was freedom to make life choices, followed by healthy life expectancy and GDP. It performed poorly in perception of corruption. The country’s equality of happiness was much better than Burundi’s.
Togo’s neighboring country Benin came in just two spots higher at number 153. GDP and freedom to make life choices were the strongest factors in the West African nation’s happiness level. Perception of corruption was the weakest factor. It did score pretty well in equality of happiness.
Rwanda was ranked right above Benin at number 152. Perceptions of corruption, freedom to make life choices, and social support were the main sources of happiness. The country performed well in equality of happiness. The GDP had suffered during the 1994 genocide and is slowly repairing.
And right above Rwanda at number 151 was the West African nation Guinea. Perceptions of corruption were the country’s weakest point, which is not surprising given that the government is accused of several human rights violations. Inequality of happiness was not a major issue.