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11.23.20 | Community

How Do You Rank Happiness?

What makes us happy? The World Happiness Report seeks to answer that question. The report is an annual publication that surveys people worldwide to discover how satisfied they are by ranking happiness on a scale from 1-10. The results (and the questions that uncover them) have much to teach us.

Developing the Report

The World Happiness Report (WHR) was established by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) in 2012, following a series of United Nations council meetings where members sought to use happiness to help inform public policy decisions. The SDSN includes scientists, engineers, business and civil society leaders and development practitioners, and promotes solutions initiatives that demonstrate the potential of technical and business innovation to support sustainable development.

The World Happiness Report surveys global happiness by ranking 156 countries based on how happy their citizens’ perceive themselves to be, and digs more deeply into how the social, urban and natural environments combine to affect our happiness. WHR partners with Gallup, utilizing data from the American advisory firm’s World Poll. Countries’ overall happiness ratings are determined by the Cantril ladder, which asks people to envision a ladder with ten rungs, the top (10) being a person at their most happy. 2,000-3,000 randomly selected citizens from 156 countries are surveyed to find results. 

What We Stand to Learn

Happiness, according to the report, can be attributed to six main criteria: (1) GDP per capita; (2) healthy years of life expectancy; (3) social support (e.g., having someone to count on in times of trouble); (4) trust (as in absence of corruption in government and business); (5) perceived freedom to make life decisions; and (6) generosity (e.g., donations to charity). From those six factors, social support ranks the highest in importance — carrying 6.3 times more heft than wealth when it comes to building happiness. The second largest driver of happiness is freedom to choose — which is 3.6 times more important than wealth.

Ironically, the 2020 World Happiness Report was released on March 20 (International Day of Happiness) at the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Just as the report shows, our recent experiences have reinforced, too, the vital importance of human connection. Happiness, at its core, will come from building meaning not just in your own life, but by building meaningful relationships in your community. 

At Sage Collective, we believe in vibrant living — our own secrets to finding a life that’s not only more vibrant, but also more meaningful, and hopefully more joyful. From one philosophical rank and file to the next, we hope you find the things that make you happy, and embrace them each and every day. 

World Happiness Report 2020 cover image
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