World Happiness Report 2021

India has ranked 139 in the World Happiness Rankings 2021 published in the 9th World Happiness Report. It has been released in March 2021. India’s rank in 2020 was 144.

Sustainable Development Solutions Network to the United Nations (UN) publishes the World Happiness Report. The latest edition of the report was published on 20th March 2021 which also celebrated World Happiness Day.

  • India’s rank of happiness (average life evaluations) based on 2020 score – 92
  • India’s overall rank 2018-2020 – 139

This article will provide you with important facts about the report for the IAS Exam.

The ‘World Happiness Report’ is one of the important international organizations’ reports. It will be helpful for candidates in UPSC preparation.

To complement your civil services preparation, you can take help from the following articles:

  1. NCERT Notes for UPSC
  2. 100 Difference Between Articles for UPSC
  3. UPSC Mains GS 1 Strategy
  4. UPSC Mains GS 2 Strategy
  5. UPSC Mains GS 3 Strategy
  6. UPSC Mains GS 4 Strategy
  7. International Relations Questions from UPSC Mains GS 2

What is the World Happiness Report?

It is the report that ranks countries on the basis of how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be. It is different from the Human Development Report (HDR) which focuses on three dimensions – healthy life, knowledge and standard of living.

The World Happiness Report 2021 has ranked 140 countries.


Key Findings of the World Happiness Report 2021

It uses Gallup World Poll data among others to bring out its findings regarding world happiness.

The facts presented in the official reports are briefed down below:

  1. Despite COVID pandemic crisis, there has been no major change in the rankings of the countries compared to the previous data.
  2. Unemployment during the pandemic is associated with a 12% decline in life satisfaction and a 9% increase in negative affect.
  3. Finland remains the happiest country in the world. It is the fourth time, Finland found its name at the top.
  4. The top 10 countries based on the 2020 score are:
    • Finland
    • Denmark
    • Switzerland
    • Iceland
    • Netherlands
    • Norway
    • Sweden
    • Luxembourg
    • New Zealand
    • Austria
  5. Rank of India’s neighbours in World Happiness Rankings 2021:
    • Sri Lanka – 32
    • Nepal – 87
    • Bhutan – Rank not mentioned in the official report
    • China – 84
    • Afghanistan – 149 (At the bottom)
    • Pakistan – 105
    • Bangladesh – 101
    • Myanmar – 126
    • Maldives – 89
  6. The countries at the bottom of the rankings are (Bottom 3):
    • Rwanda – 147
    • Zimbabwe – 148
    • Afghanistan – 149
  7. The United States ranked 19th in the world happiness rankings 2021.

Daily News

Key Findings of the World Happiness Report 2020

The World Happiness Report 2020 had for the first time ranked the cities by their subjective well-being and measured how the social, urban and natural environments combine to affect happiness. The report used 2017-2019 data. The key findings of the UN’S World Happiness Report as mentioned in the official report, are given below:

  1. Finland is the happiest country in the world as per the World Happiness Report 2020. It has topped the world happiness rankings the third time in the row.
  2. The other four countries in the top 5 world happiness rankings are:
    • Denmark
    • Switzerland (Jumped from 6th to 3rd position)
    • Iceland
    • Norway (Fell from 3rd to 5th position)
  3. Afghanistan, South Sudan and Zimbabwe are at the bottom in the World Happiness Report 2020.
  4. India ranks 144 in the World Happiness Report 2020.
  5. In the top 10, most of the spots belong to nordic states.
  6. Helsinki is the happiest city in the world. The other top four happiest cities are:
    • Aarhus (Denmark)
    • Wellington (New Zealand)
    • Zurich (Switzerland)
    • Copenhagen (Denmark)
  7. The bottom ten cities ranked in world happiness rankings include Delhi at 180. (186 cities have been ranked).
  8. Kabul in Afghanistan is ranked as the unhappiest city in the world happiness rankings.
  9. Luxembourg ranked in top 10 (Rank – 9) against its earlier rank of 14 in World Happiness Report 2019.
  10. The US is ranked 18th in the world happiness rankings 2020 (In 2019, its rank was 19; and 11 in the first world happiness report)
  11. Sadness, worry and anger are the drivers of unhappiness with the rise in unhappiness majorly due to the first two.
  12. Top 5 countries that showed significant changes in their happiness levels between 2008-2020 are:
    • Benin
    • Togo
    • Hungary
    • Bulgaria
    • Philippines
  13. In East, South and Southeast Asia, most countries had significant changes.
  14. India is ranked among the bottom 20 countries that showed an insignificant change in happiness or a downward trend in happiness. (The five largest drops since 2008-2012 were in Venezuela, Afghanistan, Lesotho, Zambia, and India.)

Quick Facts on World Happiness Report for UPSC Preparation

What are the top 10 happiest countries?

The top 10 happiest countries are:

  1. Finland
  2. Denmark
  3. Switzerland
  4. Iceland
  5. Netherlands
  6. Norway
  7. Sweden
  8. Luxembourg
  9. New Zealand
  10. Austria

Who makes the World Happiness Report?

UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network publishes the World Happiness Report.

What is India’s rank in World Happiness Report 2020 and 2021?

India ranked 139 in the World Happiness Report 2021 and 144 in World Happiness Report 2020.

How is world happiness calculated?

The body uses various data including data from Gallup World Polls to bring out the answers to the main life evaluation questions. This is called the Cantril Ladder. There are six factors – levels of GDP, life expectancy, generosity, social support, freedom, and corruption are estimated to contribute to making life evaluations higher in each country than they are in Dystopia, a hypothetical country that has values equal to the world’s lowest national averages for each of the six factors. [Source –]

Aspirants should know important facts about who brings the world happiness report for UPSC Prelims. While world happiness rankings and drivers of world happiness can be used in UPSC mains answer writings as per the need. Mostly, the facts can be used in the essay paper of the civil services mains examination. (Aspirants can read on how to write an essay in the UPSC exam at the linked article.)

World Happiness Report 2020-21 – UPSC Notes:-Download PDF Here

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