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Int’l Day of Happiness: Nigerians are happier in 2019 than 2018 – report

A NEW United Nations report has rated Nigeria to be happier this year more than in 2018, even though the country is yet to be part of the first 50 happiest country.

Nigeria ranks 85 out of 156 countries in the 2019 World Happiness Report published  on Wednesday to commemorate this year’s international day of happiness.

In 2018 Nigeria had ranked 91, thus by scoring 85 this year, the country is happier. While in Africa, Nigeria got the 3rd position in the ranking against the 5th position in 2018. Preceding Nigeria were Mauritius and Libya who rank 57 and 72 respectively.

Nigeria had, however, been described in 2003 as the happiest set of people in the world by World Values Survey, but with the recent report the nation has degenerated to the 85th happy set of people on earth, not even among the first 50 countries.

The 2019 report was the seventh World Happiness Report since 2012, in support of a UN high level meeting on “Wellbeing and Happiness: Defining a New Economic Paradigm”.

While rankings of country happiness this year were based  on the pooled results from Gallup World
Poll surveys from 2016-2018, six key varibles determined the ranking. The factors were including income, freedom, trust, healthy life expectancy, social support and generosity.

Finland, Denmark and Norway were the happiest nations while  Afganistan, Central African Republic, and South Sudan were the least three  happy countries. These nations at the bottom of the ranking were typically affected by a combination of economic, political and social stresses.

Meanwhile, the top countries tend to have high values for most of the key variables that have been found  to support well-being.

This year annual report has its focus on  happiness and community: how happiness has been changing over the past dozen years, and how information technology, governance and social norms influence communities.

Thus, it had dwelt on three main factors which are outlined to be the links between government and happiness, the power of prosocial behaviour and changes in information technology.

It considered ways in which the structure and quality of government, its policies and institutions influence happiness.

“The links between the government and happiness operate in both directions: what governments do affects happiness, and in turn the happiness of citizens in most countries determines what  kind of governments they support,” the report read in part.

Explaining some of the variables that determine happiness, the report indicated that a large body of research demonstrates “receiving social support such as encouragement from close others typically associated with greater psychological and physical well-being”.

However, receiving other forms of aid, such as financial support, may have detrimental consequences for the recipient because it may lead to social stigma or threaten one’s self-esteem.

“As a result, it is critical to examine when generosity is beneficial for both parties,” the report read.

“Meanwhile, a growing body of experimental evidence suggests that using money to benefit others leads to happiness.”

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