Expect lots of smiles in Vietnam, one of world's happiest countries

By Minh Nga   January 5, 2018 | 02:15 pm PT
Expect lots of smiles in Vietnam, one of world's happiest countries
Vietnamese people celebrate the New Year of 2018 in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh
Vietnamese people are also optimistic about 2018, a new survey has found.

“It might seem crazy what I'm 'bout to say” but yes, Vietnam was one of the five happiest countries in the world in 2017, at least that's what new data showed.

The country has secured the fifth position in the happiness index, which is led by Fiji, followed by Colombia, the Philippines and Mexico, according to the 41st Annual Global End of the Year Survey by Gallup International Association.

As many as 78 percent of surveyed Vietnamese said they were either very happy or happy and 1 percent said they felt unhappy when answering the question “In general, do you personally feel very happy, happy, neither happy nor unhappy, unhappy or very unhappy about your life?” raised by the association of polling organizations registered in Zurich, Switzerland.

Regarding their hope for 2018, 58 percent of Vietnamese respondents said they were optimistic, 8 percent thought this year would be worse and the rest guessed it would be the same, found the survey which asked on average 1,000 men and women in each country between October and December 2017.

This makes Vietnam world’s sixth most optimistic nation, according to the survey which covered 55 countries. The hope index is led by Indonesia, Nigeria, Fiji, Bangladesh, and India. Rounding up the top 10 are Albania, Kosovo, the Philippines and Sweden.

When it comes to economic prospects, Vietnamese are even more optimistic, ranking just behind Nigeria. More than half or 61 percent of surveyed Vietnamese said 2018 would be a year of prosperity, while 32 percent didn't know and only 6 percent were pessimistic.

This outlook aligns with economists' predictions for 2018 that the economic momentum of 2017, when the economy surpassed the government target and expanded 6.8 percent, will continue. 

Vietnam has often been described as a happy and optimistic nation. The Happy Planet Index compiled by the U.K.-based think tank New Economics Foundation also named Vietnam the fifth happiest place in the world last year.

In March 2017, however, a global report measuring contentment based on prosperity, integrity and social support found Vietnamese among the less happy people in the world.

The country ranked 94th out of 155 countries and territories, up two spots from the year before, right after Somalia, according to the World Happiness Report 2017, which was prepared by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), a global initiative launched by the United Nations in 2012.

Singaporeans were named the happiest in Southeast Asia, at number 26. Vietnam also came behind Thailand (32), Malaysia (42), Philippines (72) and Indonesia (81).

It should be noted that the World Happiness Report used six factors – per capita gross domestic product, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity, social support and absence of corruption in government or business.

Whichever survey you wish to believe, if you're are in Vietnam or have been there, it won't hurt to "clap along if you know what happiness is to you," as Pharrell Williams would sing.

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