Overview

The World Happiness Report is a landmark survey of the state of global happiness. The first report was published in 2012, the second in 2013, and the third in 2015. The World Happiness Report 2016 Update, which ranks 156 countries by their happiness levels, was released today in Rome in advance of UN World Happiness Day, March 20th. Leading experts across fields – economics, psychology, survey analysis, national statistics, health, public policy and more – describe how measurements of well-being can be used effectively to assess the progress of nations. The reports review the state of happiness in the world today and show how the new science of happiness explains personal and national variations in happiness. They reflect a new worldwide demand for more attention to happiness as a criteria for government policy.

For more information, please email happiness@unsdsn.org.

For media inquiries, please contact Kyu Lee: klee@ei.columbia.edu.

World Happiness Report 2016 Update

World Happiness Report 2016 Update

The World Happiness Report 2016 Update, which ranks 156 countries by their happiness levels, was released in Rome in advance of UN World Happiness Day, March 20th. The widespread interest in the World Happiness Reports, of which this is the fourth, reflects growing global interest in using happiness and subjective well-being as primary indicators of the quality of human development. Because of this growing interest, many governments, communities and organizations are using happiness data, and the results of subjective well-being research, to enable policies that support better lives.

This year, for the first time, the World Happiness Report gives a special role to the measurement and consequences of inequality in the distribution of well-being among countries and regions. In previous reports the editors have argued that happiness provides a better indicator of human welfare than do income, poverty, education, health and good government measured separately. In a parallel way, they now argue that the inequality of well-being provides a broader measure of inequality. They find that people are happier living in societies where there is less inequality of happiness. They also find that happiness inequality has increased significantly (comparing 2012-2015 to 2005-2011) in most countries, in almost all global regions, and for the population of the world as a whole.

The World Happiness Report 2016 Update and supplemental files are available for download for free below.

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World Happiness Report 2016 Update

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Chapter 1: Setting the Stage

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Chapter 2: The Distribution of World Happiness

This year we consider the geographic distribution of life evaluations among countries, while extending our analysis to consider in more detail the inequality of happiness – how life evaluations are distributed among individuals within countries and geographic regions.

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Chapter 3: Promoting Secular Ethics

To supplement what is seen as a global decline in the impact of religious ethics, this chapter offers the principle of greatest happiness as one that can inspire and unite people from all backgrounds and cultures, and one that is in harmony with major religious traditions. To sustain people in living good lives living organizations are needed, including those already provided by many religions, in which people meet regularly for uplift and mutual support.

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Chapter 4: Happiness and Sustainable Development: Concepts and Evidence

The year 2015 was a watershed for humanity, with the adoption of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by heads of state at a special summit at the United Nations in September 2015. Many countries in recent years have achieved economic growth at the cost of sharply rising inequality, entrenched social exclusion, and grave damage to the natural environment. The SDGs are designed to help countries to achieve a more balanced approach, leading to higher levels of well-being for the present and future generations.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Online Data on Chapter 2

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Statistical Appendix

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NSO Data Collections

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Special Rome Edition

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Chapter 1: Inside the Life Satisfaction Blackbox

The authors propose the use of a package of domain measures of the quality of life to supplement or perhaps even replace the overall life evaluations central to the World Happiness Report.

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Chapter 2: Human Flourishing, the Common Good, and Catholic Social Teaching

This paper makes three claims. First, human beings are oriented toward notions of happiness tied to the common good; Second, post-Enlightenment political and economic developments have stripped the common good of all substantive content; Third, by restoring the centrality of the common good, Catholic social teaching offers a coherent framework for human flourishing.

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Chapter 3: The Challenges of Public Happiness: An Historical-Methodological Reconstruction

The central idea of this paper, drawn from Aristotle, is that there is an intrinsic value in relational and civil life, without which human life does not fully flourish.

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Chapter 4: The Geography of Parenthood and Well-Being: Do Children Make Us Happy, Where and Why?

The author digs deeper into a frequent finding that having children does not add to the happiness of their parents. The paper confirms a negative relationship between parenthood and life satisfaction that is stronger for females than males, and turns positive only for older age groups and for widowers.

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Chapter 5: Multidimensional Well-Being in Contemporary Europe: An Analysis of the Use of a Self-Organizing Map Applied to Share Data.

The authors use a network-based mechanical data-reduction process to look for common and divergent features of 38 different well-being indicators collected from the same survey of older European adults that provided the data for the paper by Becchetti et al.

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Colophon

World Happiness Report 2016 Update
Edited by John Helliwell, Richard Layard and Jeffrey Sachs

This publication may be reproduced using the following reference:

Helliwell, J., Layard, R., & Sachs, J. (2016). World Happiness Report 2016, Update (Vol. I). New York: Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

World Happiness Report management by Sharon Paculor and Anthony Annett, copy edit by Jill Hamburg Coplan, Aditi Shah and Saloni Jain, design by John Stislow and Stephanie Stislow, cover design by Sunghee Kim.

Full text and supporting documentation can be downloaded from the website: http://worldhappiness.report/
#happiness2016

ISBN 978-0-9968513-3-6 Volume I

World Happiness Report 2016 Special Rome Edition
Edited by Jeffrey Sachs, Leonardo Becchetti, Anthony Annett

This publication may be reproduced using the following reference:

Sachs, J., Becchetti, L., & Annett, A. (2016). World Happiness Report 2016, Special Rome Edition (Vol. II). New York: Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

World Happiness Report management by Sharon Paculor and Anthony Annett, copy edit by Jill Hamburg Coplan, Aditi Shah and Saloni Jain, design by John Stislow and Stephanie Stislow, cover design by Sunghee Kim.

Full text and supporting documentation can be downloaded from the website: http://worldhappiness.report/
#happiness2016

ISBN 978-0-9968513-4-3 Volume II

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