Kindness Is In: The Philippines Goes Up a Spot in this Year's World Happiness Report - Lifestyle Asia

On average, the world is getting more benevolent.

Since 2012, Gallup World Poll Data has released the World Happiness Report (WHR) every year. The organization that aims to understand the world’s population’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors has ranked the Philippines in the 60th spot out of 146 countries. 

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Over the last ten years, WRH says there’s been a broader interest in happiness rankings and its factors to achieve the data. Like in the European Union, policymakers have been using the report as an objective of public policy. 

The ranking of countries based on a three year average from 2019 to 2021 make up the World Happiness Report 2022. / Photo from worldhappiness.report

In 2021, the Philippines ranked one sport lower at 61st place. The 2022 report’s overview says that “the most remarkable change seen during COVID-19 has been the global upsurge in benevolence in 2021. This benevolence has provided notable support for the life evaluations of givers, receivers, and observers, who have been gratified to see their community’s readiness to reach out to help each other in times of need.” 

They add that there has been an increase in philanthropy, volunteer work, and helping strangers during the pandemic in every global region. 

Social media research

Some of the variables used to gather the average happiness across nations include GDP, social support, freedom to make life choices, and perceptions of corruption. Social media, where many express their thoughts and feelings, were also used to capture data. 

In two case studies focusing on tweets in the UK (ranked 17th) and Austria (ranked 11th), there were “weekly movements” of positive and negative emotions like sadness and anxiety before and during the pandemic.

The information from Twitter was compared to social survey results from their respective populations. According to WHR, the comparison “tracked each other extraordinarily well.” As they’ve only just begun analyzing social media activity, the organization considers it a big step forward in happiness research. 

Balance and harmony

Asking questions on “balance and harmony” was also a new variable they added to reach more holistic rankings. Survey participants were asked if they felt at peace with their lives, if they were calm the majority of their days, and focused on caring for themselves or others. 

The top 23 happiest countries according to the WHR. / Photo from worldhappiness.report

The findings showed that balanced, peaceful, and calm experiences were more apparent in Western countries (the top five happiest countries are Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, respectively). Meanwhile, fewer of these experiences were had in poorer countries, including those in East Asia.

Banner photo by Catalin Pop on Unsplash

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