Study: Malaysia Ranks As The 55th Happiest Country In The World

Meanwhile, Finland takes the crown for happiest country in the world again!

Cover image via Meruyert Gonullu/Pexels & Deva Darshan/Unsplash

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The saying often goes that happiness is a choice people make in their lives, but did you know that this trait or emotion can be measured and indexed all around the globe?

In the 11th iteration of their study, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network just released their 2023 list of the World Happiness Report, an annual study which ranks countries based on their "happiness" threshold.

Originally a result from the proclamation of International Day of Happiness in 2012 by the United Nations General Assembly, more people have come to believe that the success of countries should be judged by the happiness of their people. Evolving over time, the consensus has become that national happiness is an operational objective for government.

According to the data used to calculate this year's results, the "Ranking of Happiness" was done using a three-year average of scores between 2020 and 2022, with a tabulated final score designated for each country.

Check out a full summary of the index below:

Among all the countries, it was revealed that Malaysia landed somewhere in the top-middle of the pack, as the 55th happiest country in the world, with a score of 6.012

Using a variety of metrics, the entire study was simplified with an explanation of six different factors which accounted for each placement in the list.

Among these six elements included the following:

1. Gross domestic product (GDP) per capita
- A factor which provides information about the size of the economy of each country and its respective performance.

2. Social support
- Which accounts for attaining assistance in times of trouble.

3. Healthy life expectancy
- A subjective well-being component which takes into account both physical and mental health.

4. Freedom of people to make life choices
- Including the element of human rights, such as the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education.

5. Generosity
- A marker for a sense of positive community engagement and a central way that humans connect with each other.

6. Perception of corruption
- Whether individuals trust their governments and in the benevolence of others.

However, the overall ranking signifies a big improvement for Malaysia, as we placed 70th for the 2022 rendition of the same study.

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via National Today

As for the ranking of other nations on the list, Nordic countries dominated the index, with Finland clutching the title of world's happiest country for the sixth year in a row

Rounding off the top five happiest countries in the world were Denmark, Iceland, Israel, and the Netherlands, in descending order, with Finland attaining a score of 7.804.

Unfortunately, war-prone countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, and Lebanon made up some of the least happy countries in the world, all possessing a score below 3.300. As for the least happy country in the world, Afghanistan claimed the bottom spot with an average score of 1.859.

Singapore climbed in ranking this year, as the happiest Southeast Asian country on the list with a score of 6.587 at 25th place. Other Asian countries that placed higher than Malaysia included Taiwan at 27th and Japan at 47th. However, Malaysia did rank higher than other Asian countries such as Thailand, which placed 60th, China, which placed 64th, and Vietnam, which came in at 65th.

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via Life in Norway

Nevertheless, analysis of the results revealed that the ranking between two countries is not significant unless those nations are many positions apart in the list

"Looking at the changes over the longer term, many countries have exhibited substantial changes in average scores, and hence in country rankings..." read a portion of the study.

In explaining the use of the six primary metrics used to determine the position of each country, it was stipulated that each factor was chosen as they were best established in both experimental and survey data for having significant links to subjective well-being and live evaluations of humans.

However, the study also divulged the possibility of two-way linkages among some of the factors, which may be cause for vicious or virtuous cycles. For example, evidence that those who are happier tend to live longer signal their inherent ability to be more trusting, more cooperative, and better at meeting life's demands. 

Nonetheless, other factors including the inequality of happiness prior to the ravages of COVID-19 and the war between Russia and Ukraine were also cautious considerations when curating the list, outside of the six primary factors.

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via Express Illustrations/The New Indian Express

In the closing section of the study, it was revealed that despite the numerous issues faced by people around the globe from 2020 to 2022, life evaluations have continued to be remarkably resilient

Click here to read the full World Happiness Report for 2023.

Watch the full YouTube clip on how the report was created below:

In a 2022 study, Kuala Lumpur was listed as the third most overworked city in the world:

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