Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Myanmar’s unexpected rise in the World Happiness Index


Despite the crisis in Myanmar unfolding since the 2021 military coup, the country has unexpectedly climbed in the latest World Happiness Report to the 118th position, scoring 4.354 points. 

This surprising ranking contrasts starkly with the political repression and human rights violations perpetrated by the military over the last three years.

Myanmar’s happiness ranking has fluctuated, reflecting its volatile socio-political situation. The nation’s highest happiness index score was 4.55 points in 2017, while a more recent figure in 2021 showed a slight decline to 4.39 points.

In comparison, Myanmar’s ranking is lower than its Southeast Asian neighbors. Singapore leads the region, ranking 30th globally, with the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Laos, and Cambodia following closely behind. 

These rankings underscore the varied elements that contribute to national happiness, including economic health, social support, and personal freedoms. Finland retains its title as World’s Happiest Country for the seventh consecutive year, scoring 7.741 points, and Afghanistan ranks last with 1.721 points.

The U.N. Sustainable Development Solutions Network, in collaboration with Gallup and the University of Oxford, publishes the report annually by using data compiled from more than 140 countries, evaluating factors like Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita, social support, life expectancy, freedom of choice, generosity, and perceptions of corruption.

Myanmar’s 2024 ranking encapsulates the nation’s intricate socio-political backdrop. Since the 2021 military coup, the country has faced street protests, a violent crackdown, and an ever-worsening human rights situation. The enforcement of martial law, continued internet and electricity blackouts, as well as the announcement of military conscription have intensified public distress.


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