The UAE has been ranked the happiest Arab country, and the 21st happiest in the world in the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s World Happiness Report 2017 rankings, based on data from the Gallup World Poll.
The report, issued by the Earth Institute at Columbia University to celebrate the International Day of Happiness, finds the UAE is a happier country than the United States and the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Ireland and Austria.
The UAE would, however, rank 12th globally if only UAE nationals were taken into account, as the 2017 report included a separate table of results for nationals and non-nationals in some Gulf countries with varying scores.
The UAE advanced to the 15th place on the Life Evaluation Index, up from 24th last year, and to the 16th place on the Positive Experience Index, up from the 33th last year.
Norway led this year’s ranking, followed by last year’s happiest country Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland and Finland.
The UAE’s significant progress recorded in the World Happiness Report 2017 is an achievement we can all be proud of, and is the result of the country’s ambitious and forward-thinking vision, said Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Happiness.
This vision, she said, was developed under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, as well as the directives of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and the close follow-up by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid has always stressed that people’s happiness will remain a key objective of the UAE Government until it becomes a permanent and ubiquitous reality in the country, she noted.
"When leaders occupy themselves first and foremost with making their people happy, the results will always come back positive," Al Roumi continued.
"This achievement was a result of the collaboration between various government bodies that worked diligently to implement the leadership’s directives, and co-operated to launch programmes and initiatives to establish a happy and positive society in the UAE," she said.
It is now five years since the publication of the first World Happiness Report in 2012. Its central purpose was to survey the science of measuring and understanding subjective well-being.
In the report, the authors noted that their analysis of the levels, changes, and determinants of happiness among and within nations continues to be based chiefly on individual life evaluations, roughly 1,000 per year in each of more than 150 countries, as measured by answers to the Cantril ladder question: "Please imagine a ladder, with steps numbered from 0 at the bottom to 10 at the top.
In February 2017, the UAE held a full-day World Happiness meeting, as part of the World Government Summit. Now International Day of Happiness, March 20th, provides a focal point for events spreading the influence of global happiness research, the report noted.
According to the report, the UAE came among the top 10 countries in 21 indicators which measure the following: - Satisfaction with e efforts to preserve the environment - Being healthy to perform daily activities - Convenience of city for people from diff erent countries to live in - Satisfaction with household income - Satisfaction with public transportation systems - Satisfaction with children’s opportunity to learn and grow - Helping strangers - People treated with respect - Satisfaction with roads and highways - Satisfaction with economic conditions - Economic Confidence Index (evaluation of economic conditions today and in the future) - Belief that children in the country are treated with respect - Satisfaction with availability of quality healthcare - Feeling well-rested - Satisfaction with city of living - Satisfaction with standard of living - Feeling that standard of living is getting better - Satisfaction with freedom to make life choices - Satisfaction with life after five years.