The Malta Independent 16 November 2018, Friday

The Pursuit of Happiness: Malta ranked 22nd in World Happiness Report

Tuesday, 21 August 2018, 15:41 Last update: about 4 months ago

A report published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network placed Malta 22nd on a list ranking 156 countries based on happiness.

The overall rankings are based on data from the years 2015-2017, with respondents’ asked to rate their personal life with the best possible score being 10, and the worst possible score being 0. Taken nationally, the report then takes into account 6 different factors which contribute to happiness – levels of GDP, life expectancy, generosity, social support, freedom, and corruption. The sample size ranged from 2,000 to 3,000 individuals per country.

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Due to the report being mainly based on personal perception, this leads to some of the data being skewed. For example, Uzbekistan was ranked 1st for freedom to make life choices, whilst at the same time being barely 2 years out of one of the worst dictatorial reigns in the world.

 

Overall Analysis

Finland ranked top of the table, although the top ten positions were held by the same countries as in the last 2 years. In the 4 most recent reports, Denmark, Switzerland, Norway and Finland managed to hold the top spots.

Togo showed the best improvement overall from last year, moving up seventeen ranks in the table. On the other hand, Venezuela dropped down a whole 2.2 points on the 0 to 10 scale, leading to a sharp drop in its scores.

The importance of social factors in the happiness of all populations is found to depend on greater ‘closeness’ of family and other social relationships there, and to the greater importance that people attached to these relationships.

 

Malta

Taking a more in-depth look into the statistics, one finds that Malta’s ranking has been on an upward trajectory since 2010, with a slight dip in 2012.

Malta ranked 26th with regards to GDP per capita, and 17th for social support and healthy life expectancy. Malta showed particular prominence when it came to our freedom to make life choice, where it placed 14th, and, unsurprisingly, ranked 3rd in generosity.

 

Migration

Part of the report also deals with migration, for both domestic and international migrants. The report goes over the migrants left behind, whether in the countryside or in the source country, whilst also going over the happiness of migrants and their host communities.

The results tend to be positive, and according to the report, a ranking of countries according to the happiness of their immigrant populations is almost exactly the same as for the rest of the population. In fact, the ten happiest countries also fill ten of the top eleven spots in the ranking of immigrant happiness. Once again, Finland takes the top spot of both rankings, with the happiest immigrants, and that happiest population in general.

 

Biggest Threats to Happiness

The report ends by focusing on the 3 most prominent health problems that threaten happiness worldwide – obesity, the opioid crisis, and depression. With regards to obesity, Malta rests towards the top of the majority of lists with regards to overweight persons.

And, drug abuse and mental health treatment facilities in Malta also leave much to be desired as the stigma on both these problems still holds a firm grip in our society.

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