China got a little bit happier again this year, according to an annual UN survey on global happiness which placed China 79th out of 155 places around the globe, four spots higher than last year. Taiwan took 33rd place, up two spots from last year, while Hong Kong ranked 71st on the list, up four spots.
Produced by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network of the UN, the World Happiness Report approaches the topic of quality of life with a scientific survey based on human emotion. Participants were asked to evaluate their happiness on a scale of 1-10. It includes 155 entities, only counting those with enough recent data to make consistent calculations (so, no North Korea). China’s happiness neighbors this year include countries like Croatia, Kosovo, Pakistan and Indonesia.
According to accumulated statistics of national GDP, life expectancy, generosity, etc., China has solidly average national happiness (5.273). However, based on growth of happiness since the period of 2005 to 2007, China has made the 21st 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 — but really the country is just now returning to happiness levels it enjoyed in the 1990s. The UN attributes the steady decline in happiness from 1990 to 2005 to rising unemployment and fraying social safety nets, issues that have gradually been addressed in the last decade.
This year, the title of world’s happiest country went to Norway. Check out the top ten and bottom ten below:
8) New Zealand
147) South Sudan
155) Central African Republic
The happiness survey follows a slightly more dubious domestic one which found that Lhasa was the happiest city in China.
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