The 2021 World Happiness Report is out — and it has a pretty surprising finding about the state of happiness throughout the world.
- Despite a grim 2020 — with earthquakes, a pandemic, major celebrity deaths and more — the world is pretty much as happy in 2021 as it was the year before.
- The report found “amid global hardship, self-reported life satisfaction across 95 countries on average remained steady in 2020 from the previous year,” according to The Washington Post.
- The United States listed at No. 19 on the list of happiest countries.
Why it matters
Experts told The Washington Post the report is a sign of the world’s resilience.
Jeffrey Sachs, an economics professor at Columbia University, told The Washington Post that “people have not thrown up their hands about their lives.”
- However, “I don’t want to leave an impression that all was well, because it’s not,” he said.
In 2019, the United States hit its record low position on the list of happiest countries, according to the Deseret News.
Sachs told the Deseret News the increase of addiction might have been a reason for why the United States saw a drop in its ranking for 2019.
- “This year’s report provides sobering evidence of how addictions are causing considerable unhappiness and depression in the U.S.,” said Sachs. “The compulsive pursuit of substance abuse and addictive behaviors is causing severe unhappiness. Government, business and communities should use these indicators to set new policies aimed at overcoming these sources of unhappiness.”
Why happiness is good for you
The Deseret News has previously reported that being happy “can provide benefits as diverse as physical and emotional health and a boost to longevity.”
- Happiness can be taught to others, experts told the Deseret News. And thus it can be implemented into national policy to help make people even happier and more satisfied with their lives and healthier.
- “We are showing that happiness has an influence on health — maybe not quite as big as not smoking, but it’s pretty big and it’s bigger than eating your vegetables,” Edward F. Diener, a professor, psychologist and researcher, told the Deseret News.