Vietnam climbs up happiness index ranking

By Nguyen Quy   March 24, 2020 | 12:25 am PT
Vietnam climbs up happiness index ranking
A girl sits on her dad's back to watch fireworks on Lunar New Year's Eve on Nguyen Hue walking street in HCMC, January 24, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
Vietnam has climbed 11 places to 83rd among 156 economies in the 2020 World Happiness Report released late last week.

The report was prepared by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, a global initiative launched by the United Nations (U.N.) in 2012.

The rankings are based on an average of three years of surveys between 2017 and 2019, meaning there's overlap in the data from previous years, and include six factors such as level of gross domestic product, life expectancy, generosity, social support, freedom and absence of corruption in government or business, the report said.

Vietnam scored an average of 5.353 points in happiness, improving on the 5.175 it got last year. Despite the improvement, however, Vietnam lagged well behind some of its Southeast Asian peers like Singapore (31st), the Philippines (52nd), Thailand (54th) and Malaysia (82nd).

In Southeast Asia, Vietnam’s position was better than Indonesia (84th), Laos (104th), Cambodia (106th) and Myanmar (133th).

Finland took the top spot again as the happiest country in the world, followed by Denmark and Switzerland.

Meanwhile, the countries at the bottom of the list were those afflicted by extreme poverty and violence such as Zimbabwe, South Sudan and Afghanistan.

Vietnam reported an impressive GDP growth of 7.02 percent in 2019 while the average life expectancy of Vietnamese in 2018 was 73.5 years, but, generally, people only live in good health till they are 64, according to the Vietnam General Office for Population and Family Planning.

For the first time, the U.N. also ranked 186 cities around the world by residents’ perception of their own current well-being and future outlook based on how positively their inhabitants evaluate their expected future lives.

The capital city, Hanoi, ranked 135th with a score of 5,196 out of 10 in terms of current well-being, while Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s southern metropolis, stood at 138th at 5,155.

The report said residents in Hanoi were more optimistic than in HCMC about their expected future lives, with the former standing at 112nd and the latter at 128th.

Finland capital Helsinki was the happiest city in the world, followed by Aarhus in Denmark, Wellington in New Zealand, Zurich in Switzerland and Copenhagen in Denmark.

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