Austrians are in 11th place in 'happiness' ranking

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Austrians are in 11th place in 'happiness' ranking
An unobstructed view of the beautiful village of Hallstatt in Austria. (Photo by Willian Justen de Vasconcellos on Unsplash)

The World Happiness Report again has put Austria out of the top 10 when it comes to the happiness of its people. What are the criteria?


Global happiness levels have remained constant despite crises, and Finland remains the country with the happiest population, according to the World Happiness Report published on Monday.

The EU country took the top spot in the ranking for the sixth time. As in the previous year, Austria came in eleventh.


Finland, the northernmost EU country, is followed at some distance in the annual ranking by Denmark, Iceland, Israel, and the Netherlands before Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and New Zealand complete the top ten.

While Austria remained stable in eleventh place, Israel made a year-on-year jump from ninth to fourth. The unhappiest among the 137 states surveyed are Afghanistan and Lebanon.

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The researchers involved, who publish the report based on surveys conducted by the Gallup Institute, calculate the ranking in each case based on data from the past three years. They identified several critical factors for happiness.

They check GDP per capita regarding purchasing power parity, healthy life expectancy at birth, social support, freedom to make life choices, generosity, perceptions of corruption, and positive and negative affect. 

For social support, people are asked, “If you were in trouble, do you have relatives or friends you can count on to help you whenever you need them, or not?”. To evaluate freedom, they are asked, “Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with your freedom to choose what you do with your life?”.

Additionally, generosity is measured after the question, “Have you donated money to a charity in the past month?” and perceptions of corruption after asking, “Is corruption widespread throughout the government or not?” and “Is corruption widespread within businesses or not?”.


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Finally, positive affect is defined after asking if people have experienced "laughter, enjoyment or interest" the day before. In contrast, negative affect is measured after asking people if they experienced "worry", "sadness", or "anger" the day before.

The ranking also uses "life evaluations", asking people to evaluate their current life as a whole using the image of a ladder, with the best possible life for them as a ten and the worst possible as a 0. Each respondent provides a numerical response on this scale, called the Cantril ladder. Typically, around 1,000 responses are gathered annually for each country. 


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