South Korea was ranked 54th among 156 states in the list of the happiest countries in the world. Finland was ranked first for the second year in a row.
The UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) released the 2019 World Happiness Report on Wednesday, according to which South Korea received 5.892 points out of 10 in terms of the country’s happiness index, stepping up three ranks from the previous year.
SDSN measures per-capita gross domestic product (GDP), social support, life expectancy, freedom, generosity, and corruption to calculate the happiness index.
South Korea performed well in life expectancy (9th), per-capita GDP (27th), and generosity (40th), while failing in freedom (144th), corruption (100th), and social support (91st).
Scandinavian countries were among the happiest countries in the world.
Finland received 7.769 points to become this year’s happiest country. Denmark, Norway, Iceland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, New Zealand, Canada, and Australia also made it to the top 10.
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In Asia, Taiwan received 6.466 points (25th) to become the happiest country in the region, followed by Singapore (34th) and Thailand (52nd). Japan (58th) and China (93rd) ranked after South Korea.
The United States was ranked in 19th place, a step down from the previous year, despite a recent economic boom.
Prof. Jeffrey Sachs from Columbia University and a co-editor of this year’s World Happiness Report explained that a rise in gambling and addiction to digital media have increased unhappiness and depression in the country.
Many western states were among the happier countries in the list, including Australia (11th), the U.K. (15th), Germany (17th), France (24th), Spain (30th), and Italy (36th).
In contrast, South Sudan (156th), Afghanistan (154th), Yemen (151st), and Syria (149th) were among the least happy countries in the world.
“The worldwide tendency towards a considerable decline in average happiness, despite the general growth in GDP per capita, is proof that measuring happiness and life satisfaction in terms of economic wealth alone is not at all sufficient,” said the report.