In South Africa, we have a myriad of things to complain about – load shedding, the state of our politics, the water crisis, and so on – but as a country, we have always found a way to deal with this. Our outlet has traditionally been humour, but according to a new study by American analytics company Gallup, South Africa is one of the unhappiest nations in the world.
Gallup’s 2019 World Happiness Report ranks 156 countries by how happy their citizens are perceived to be, and this year’s report focuses specifically on overall happiness and sense of community.
The reports also set out to prove that a country’s GDP, unemployment levels and household income have no reflection on how happy citizens are. “This means that leaders can no longer assume that the lives of those in their countries improve with a rise in GDP, as was shown in the Arab Uprising countries where GDP was increasing but the ratings of their lives trended downward ahead of the unrest,” the report states. “Leaders need to follow much more traditional metrics to effectively track and lead the progress of their nation.”
According to the report, the happiest countries have scored highly in the following categories:
– healthy life expectancy
– social support
– trust and generosity
South Africa is ranked 106th on this year’s list, lagging behind other African countries such as Mauritius (57th) and Nigeria (85th).
South Africa has fallen by 21 places, as the average respondent is 0.49 points unhappier on a 10-point scale system. This big drop is also indicative of a sharp dip in overall satisfaction of life and happiness in the past decade.
Finland holds the position as the happiest country in the world, and is followed by Denmark in second place.