Czech Republic getting happier

The World Happiness Report has good news for locals, but not immigrants

People in the Czech Republic are getting happier. The county came in 21st place in the 2018 edition of The World Happiness Report, released by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations. In the 2017 edition, the Czech Republic ranked 23rd, which itself was an improvement from 2016’s 27th place ranking. But foreign-born people in the country are not as happy as local people.

The happiest country in the new report was Finland, taking over from Norway, which dropped to second.

Northern European dominated the top of the list, with Denmark in third, Iceland in fourth, the Netherlands in sixth and Sweden coming in ninth.

Countries are ranked in six variables that have been found to support well-being: income, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust and generosity.

The rankings are based on the pooled results from Gallup World Poll surveys from 2015 to ’17. The top 10 positions have been held by the same countries as in the previous two years, although in a different order. Four different countries have held a top spot in the four most recent reports: Denmark, Switzerland, Norway and now Finland.

The Czech Republic was best in the CEE region and led the Visegrad Four nations, with Slovakia at 39th, Poland at 42nd and Hungary at 69th. But neighboring Austria and Germany did better, at 11th and 15th place, respectively.

Overall, some 69 countries improved their happiness since the first report was issued in 2012. The Czech Republic was 28th in the size of its happiness increase. The most improved was Togo, while the biggest drop by far was seen in Venezuela.

Central and Eastern Europe showed more improvement than Western Europe. The top 10 most improved countries included Latvia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Macedonia (FYROM), Hungary and Romania.

A new focus in this year’s report is on migration within and between countries.

The news for the Czech Republic in this aspect was not as good. Happiness for foreign-born people in the Czech Republic is much lower, with the country coming in 41st place out of 117 countries ranked in this category.

Finland again topped this list, followed by Denmark, Norway, and Iceland. Nine of the top 10 countries for overall happiness were the same ones for happiness of foreign-born people but in a different order. “The closeness of the two rankings shows that the happiness of immigrants depends predominantly on the quality of life where they now live, illustrating a general pattern of convergence,” a report summary said.

“Happiness can change, and does change, according to the quality of the society in which people live. Immigrant happiness, like that of the locally born, depends on a range of features of the social fabric, extending far beyond the higher incomes traditionally thought to inspire and reward migration. The countries with the happiest immigrants are not the richest countries, but instead the countries with a more balanced set of social and institutional supports for better lives,” the summary stated.

The least happy country, at 156th place, is Burundi, with several other countries in Africa plus Yemen filling out the bottom of the list.

The country with the least happy foreigners was Syria, also followed by several African countries.

The International Day of Happiness at the United Nations will occur March 20.

Happiest countries
1. Finland
2. Norway
3. Denmark
4. Iceland
5. Switzerland
6. The Netherlands
7. Canada
8. New Zealand
9. Sweden
10. Australia
11. Israel
12. Austria
13. Costa Rica
14. Ireland
15. Germany
16. Belgium
17 Luxembourg
18. United States of America
19. United Kingdom
20. United Arab Emirates
21. Czech Republic
22. Malta
23. France
24. Mexico
25. Chile

Source: The World Happiness Report 2018

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