China got a little bit happier this year, according to an annual UN survey on global happiness that recently placed China in 83rd out of 157 places around the globe, one space higher than last year. Interestingly, Taiwan took 35th place and Hong Kong ranked 75th on the list, falling three spots since last year.
Beginning in 2012, the United Nations began a scientific survey on quality of life that approached the topic on the basis of human emotion, naming it the World Happiness Report. It includes 157 entities, only counting those with enough recent data to make consistent calculations. China’s happiness neighbors this year include countries like Bhutan, Philippines, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Serbia and Jordan. Meanwhile, Taiwan ranks third in Asia, behind only Singapore and Thailand.
According to accumulated statistics of national GDP, life expectancy, generosity, etc., China has solidly average national happiness. However, based on growth of happiness since the period of 2005 to 2007, China has made the 19th largest jump internationally. The Party might want to take credit for China’s now solid score, though, in 2012, Guangdong party chief Wang Yang said that the CCP can’t make the people happy.
The survey also calculated that Denmark is the happiest country in 2016, trading places with second-place Switzerland since last year.
Here are the 10 happiest countries in 2016:
8. New Zealand
Asked to place their lives on a scale of quality from one to ten, East Asians gave an average response of 5.288, just above China’s 5.245, but far below Singapore’s 6.739. For comparison, the Danish answered with 7.526 and, at the bottom of the list, Burundi responded with 2.905.
Here’s the 2016 ranking of 10 unhappiest countries:
That’s not all to the story, though. A report in January by a UK polling website found that China has the most optimistic people on Earth. Chinese participants in the survey were found to be four times more optimistic than the rest of the world. This outcome is more closely aligned with a North Korean ranking from 2011 which named China the world’s happiest country and assigned the “American Empire” last place.
By Matthew Patel