Burundi, TZ, Rwanda among world’s least happy countries

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President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi

In Summary: Burundi is the least happy country in the world this year, taking over the Central African Republic which rocked bottom last year. This year's happiest place on Earth is Finland, toppling Norway from the top spot according to an annual  UN sustainable development solutions network report. This year, four of the world’s least happy countries; Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, and South Sudan are member states of the East African Community (EAC). The four EAC member states are among the seven least happy countries in sub-Saharan Africa, constituting the bulk of the 10 unhappiest countries in the world. Not surprisingly, the war-torn Middle-East countries, Syria and Yemen appear among the ten least happy nations. Haiti, the poorest country in the Western hemisphere is also among the least happy countries but standing at number 148, but a little happier than its African cohort except for Malawi which occupies the 147th slot. The World Happiness Report measures "subjective well-being" - how happy people feel they are, and why. This year's UN report also features data about the happiness of immigrants in their host countries. Nordic countries regularly appear in the top five, while war-hit countries, several in sub-Saharan Africa regularly appear in the bottom five.

Presidents Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi, John Magufuli of Tanzania, Paul Kagame of Rwanda, and Salva Kiir of South Sudan presiding over the least happy populations in the world.

London, UK—Burundi is the least happy country in the world this year, taking over the Central African Republic (CAR) which rocked bottom last year. Burundi was thrown into crisis when President Pierre Nkurunziza's bid for re-election to a third term in 2015 sparked protests by opposition supporters who said the move was unconstitutional. This year's happiest place on Earth is Finland, toppling Norway from the top spot according to an annual  UN sustainable development solutions network report. This year, four of the world’s least happy countries; Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, and South Sudan are member states of the East African Community (EAC). The four EAC member states are among the seven unhappy countries in sub-Saharan Africa, constituting the bulk of the 10 least happy countries in the world. Not surprisingly, the war-torn Middle-East countries, Syria and Yemen appear among the ten least happy nations. Haiti, the poorest country in the Western hemisphere is also among the least happy countries but standing at number 148, is a little happier than its African cohort except for Malawi which occupies the 147th slot. The World Happiness Report measures "subjective well-being" - how happy people feel they are, and why. This year's UN report also features data about the happiness of immigrants in their host countries. Nordic countries regularly appear in the top five, while war-hit countries, several in sub-Saharan Africa regularly appear in the bottom five.

People enjoy a sunny day in the Finnish capital Helsinki. (Photo by Reuters)

According to the United Nations sustainable development solutions network report, Finland is the happiest country in the world followed by Norway, Denmark taking the third slot, Iceland in the fourth position, Switzerland in fifth place,  Netherlands coming in as sixth, Canada taking the seventh slot, New Zealand in the eighth position, Sweden in ninth place, and Australia ranking as the tenth happiest country in the world.

Inside a Finnish Sauna. (Photo by Getty Images)

The happiest country, Finland, is  known for; loving  to get hot and steamy in saunas - with an estimated 3.3 million, there are enough steam rooms for more than one every other person; the country has the most metal bands per capita, the most famous include HIM, Nightwish, and Children of Bodom; from Lapland, you can see wild reindeer, the Northern Lights and if you are lucky Santa Claus; and the country's most famous exports include the cartoon characters called Moomins and the mobile gaming app Angry Birds

Of the 156 countries surveyed, Burundi came out as the least happy at 156, the  Central African Republic (CAR) at 155,  South Sudan at 154, Tanzania at  153, Yemen at  152, Rwanda at 151, Syria at  150,  Liberia at 149, Haiti at 148, and  Malawi at 147. The United States, whose ranking is in the 18th position of the 156 countries surveyed, is the least happy of the advanced industrial countries.

US President Donald John Trump presides over the least happy nation among the  advanced industrial countries. Image: REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

The survey was conducted by distinguished professors from Columbia University, The Canadian Institute for Advanced Studies, and The Well Being Program at The London School of Economics and Economic Performance.  This year's report by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network also features data about the happiness of immigrants in their host countries, with Finland also coming top as home to the happiest immigrants. "I think everything in this society is set up for people to be successful, starting with university and transportation that works really well," American teacher Brianna Owens, who lives in Finland's second biggest city Espoo, told Reuters news agency. While some 156 countries are ranked by their happiness levels, 117 are ranked by the happiness of their immigrants. Norway, Denmark, Iceland, and Switzerland were the other countries in the top five. Togo is seen to be this year's biggest gainer, moving up 17 places, while the biggest loser is Venezuela, which dropped 20 places to 102nd.

President Faure Gnassingbé Eyadema of Togo whose country gained in ranking while President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela whose country lost in the rankings.
President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela

'Happy countries, happy migrants'--The study found that the 10 happiest countries also scored highest on immigrant happiness, suggesting that migrants' well-being was tied to the quality of life in their adopted home. With a population of around 5.5 million people, Finland counted some 300,000 foreigners in 2016, reports say. "The most striking finding of the report is the remarkable consistency between the happiness of immigrants and the locally born," said John Helliwell, co-editor of the report and a professor at the University of British Columbia. The report relies on asking a simple, subjective question of more than 1,000 people in more than 150 countries. "Imagine a ladder, with steps numbered from 0 at the bottom to 10 at the top. "The top of the ladder represents the best possible life for you and the bottom of the ladder represents the worst possible life for you. On which step of the ladder would you say you personally feel you stand at this time?" The average result is the country's score - ranging from Finland's 7.6 to Burundi's 2.9.  But the report also uses statistics to explain why one country is happier than another. It looks at factors including economic strength (measured in GDP per capita), social support, and life expectancy, freedom of choice, generosity, and perceived corruption.

Source: BBC News

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-43414145

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