The World Happiness Report is a landmark survey of the state of global happiness. The report reviews the state of happiness in the world and shows how the science of happiness explains personal and national variations in happiness. It is one approach to measuring humanities well-being. The report continues to gain global recognition as governments, organizations and civil society increasingly use happiness indicators to inform their policy-making decisions. It is part of a larger effort to redefine the growth narrative to put people’s well-being at the center of government’s efforts. The World Happiness Report was written by a group of independent experts across fields – economics, psychology, survey analysis, national statistics, health, public policy and more.
The data presented here is from 2017, which ranks 155 countries by their happiness levels. The happiness scores and rankings use data from the Gallup World Poll. The rankings are based on answers to the main life evaluation question asked in the poll. This is called the Cantril ladder: it asks respondents to think of a ladder, with the best possible life for them being a 10, and the worst possible life being a 0. They are then asked to rate their own current lives on that 0 to 10 scale. The rankings are from nationally representative samples. Data from previous years is combined with Gallup weights to make the sample size large enough to reduce the random sampling errors and make the estimates representative. The six factors presented – economic production, social support, life expectancy, freedom, absence of corruption, and generosity – were selected due to their high contribution to making life evaluations higher in each country. They have no impact on the total score reported for each country, but they do explain why some countries rank higher than others.
The data analysis for this page can be seen here. The data presented here has been normalized independently for each factor to a scale of one (least happy is zero, most happy is one). The trends shown in the scatter plots are a one dimensional linear regression fit independently for each factor. The happiness predictions from the radar plot are based of all six factors simultaneously using regression with gradient boosting – taking into account all six factors simultaneously we can predict the happiness of many countries to within less than the errors included in the report. In this visualization errors are not shown and for many countries the predicted happiness lies below the point of the actual happiness. The data visualization here is not definitive or final. There are many more portals on the web to explore happiness and life satisfaction further. I hope this work illuminates and raises questions.