Philippines a 'happier' country in 2019, says UN study

Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 21 2019 01:27 PM

Children enjoy their school break at a playground in Manila in this November 20, 2015 file photo. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The United Nations' annual World Happiness Report this 2019 has ranked Philippines the 69th happiest country in the world, two notches higher versus last year's 71st finish. 

Based on the report released Wednesday, Finland emerged as the happiest country in the world among the 156 surveyed by the UN report. 

TOP 10
1. Finland
2. Denmark
3. Norway
4. Iceland
5. Netherlands
6. Switzerland
7. Sweden
8. New Zealand
9. Canada 
10. Austria 

Philippines was also third happiest when ranked against its regional neighbors, next to Singapore and Thailand at 34th and 52nd spots, respectively. 

The report used "six key variables" to rank the country by happiness, namely GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity, and absence of corruption.

But despite the improvement in the world ranking, a local survey released on Sunday by Social Weather Stations (SWS), however, showed more Filipinos were unhappy and dissatisfied with their lives in the last quarter of 2018.

The December 16 to 19 poll showed 87 percent of respondents assessing their life in general as "very/fairly happy." This was a 7-point decline from the record-high 94 percent in December 2017, and was also the lowest score in 4 years, SWS said. 

The "unhappiness score" of 13 percent was the highest since the 15 percent in December 2014, said the pollster. 

The survey also found 82 percent "very/fairly satisfied" with the lives they lead, which was the lowest since the 79 percent in September 2014.

The number of respondents who expressed dissatisfaction with their lives meanwhile was at 18 percent, which was the highest since the 21 percent logged in September 2014.