The World Happiness Report is a yearly publication of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network that measures how people evaluate their lives to determine a country's level of happiness and wellbeing. It’s released on March 20th and coincides with World Happiness Day.
Beyond GDP, the report figures out if people's lives are getting better by considering additional quality of life indicators like healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom to make life choices, generosity, and perceptions of corruption. It’s been published annually since 2010 and uses data from the Gallup World Poll to rank 156 countries on a scale from 1-10.
Quality of life indicators are important because they give a more nuanced view of how people are really doing in a given country. For example, while GDP per capita is a good measure of economic progress, it doesn't say anything about how that progress is distributed among the population.
One of the main goals of the World Happiness Report is to encourage policy makers to use the data to inform their strategies and prioritize factors other than economic growth. Alternative economic models, such as Jason Hickel's degrowth model, and Kate Raworth's doughnut economics model, echo this approach to meet the needs of all people within the limits of our planet.
For example, Raworth’s model proposes a "doughnut" shape where the inner ring represents the minimum requirements for a good life (such as food, water, shelter, and safety) and the outer ring represents the maximum amount we can consume without damaging the planet (such as pollution). The sweet spot in the middle is where we want to be!
In the meantime, you can check out where your country ranks in the World Happiness Report and share its findings with others.