Qatar’s high living standards, life expectancy and a lack of corruption make it one of the happiest countries on the planet, according to a new international index.
The 2015 World’s Happiness Report ranks the Gulf country 28th out of 158 nations, a spot that Qatar has more or less maintained for the past few years.
The document is published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, which is affiliated with the United Nations. It placed Qatar ahead of Saudi Arabia, which ranked 35th, as well as Kuwait, which came in at number 39.
However, the UAE continues to be the happiest GCC country, ranking 20th in this year’s report.
According to the authors, the UAE government’s commitment to making happiness a “national policy goal” is one of the reasons for its strong showing.
In December 2014, UAE prime minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said that “the first objective for the Dubai Plan 2021 is achieving people’s happiness,” the report stated.
He also addressed an open letter to all federal government employees, reminding them of their core mission to provide world-class services to the people of UAE with the goal of contributing to their satisfaction.
The highest-ranked countries in the world hailed from northern European countries, with Switzerland coming in first place, followed by Iceland and Denmark.
The unhappiest countries were located in Sub-Saharan Africa and included Burundi and Togo.
Syria, which has experienced violence, civil unrest and political turmoil since 2011 rounded out the three unhappiest countries in the index.
Report in numbers
To come up with its conclusions, the report surveyed at least 2,000 people in each of the 158 countries, evaluating each nation on a scale of zero to 10.
Countries that are the least happy had a score of 3.4 or less, while those that are the happiest came out with a score of 7.4 or more.
Qatar ranked close to the happiest countries at 6.6 points, coming just behind the happiest GCC country, the UAE, which got 6.9 points.
The ranking of happiness was based on six main factors:
- GDP per capita;
- Healthy years of life expectancy;
- Social support (as measured by having someone to count on in times of trouble);
- Trust (as measured by a perceived absence of corruption in government and business);
- Perceived freedom to make life decisions; and
- Generosity (as measured by recent donations, adjusted for differences in income).
According to the report, GDP per capita was 25 times higher in the top 10 countries than in the bottom countries.
In the 2013 World’s Happiness Report, Qatar placed 27th from the years 2010-2012. Meanwhile in the first World’s Happiness Report issued in 2012, Qatar stood at 29th.
Saudi Arabia dropped only a couple of spots from 33rd in 2013, and the UAE fell to 20th from 14th, but still maintained its position as the happiest country in the region.
Most of the countries in the top and bottom 10 are the same as in the World Happiness Report 2013.
Qatar is part of 36 countries that didn’t witness any significant change in happiness in the last few years, while 53 countries saw significant improvements, and 41 grew significantly worse.
The report states that these differences appear to be based on the different reactions to the economic crisis, the quality of governance and social support. It continued:
“Countries with sufficiently high quality social capital appear to be able to sustain or even improve subjective well-being in the face of natural disasters or economic shocks, as the shocks provide them an opportunity to discover, use and build upon their communal links. In other cases, the economic crisis triggered drops in happiness greater than could be explained by falling incomes and higher unemployment.”
In early 2012, a Misery Index from the Economist also named Qatar the “least miserable” place to live in the world, given the low levels of unemployment and inflation here.
But in the same year, Qatar was given a rank of 149 out of 151 nations by Happy Planet for its negative environmental impact.
“Photo for illustrative purposes only.”
Why do I get the feeling the Asian in your photo was not included in the survey. It’s hard to believe Qatar would be ranked where it is if the 90% of the population that is foreign was actually and accurately surveyed. Slaves don’t tend to be happy.
That is why Doha News should have clarified this is for citizens only. Lazy journalism
It’s not for citizens only. Lazy comment 🙂
He’s not the one running a blog dressed like news outlet
Lol. They should have told us the basis of the survey, that is the idea of a news outlet, to inform….
Man Shabina, we’ve got a lot of unhappy people here, don’t we 😉
I was wondering, what purpose do the photos that are not labelled “for illustrative purposes” serve??? To confuse MIMH? 🙂
“Qatar’s high living standards, life expectancy and a lack of corruption make it one of the happiest countries on the planet, according to a new international index.”
You need to clarify, for citizens not residents. I don’t think low income workers, doing 12 hour shifts, getting home once In every two years, living 12 to a room, dying of heart attacks would recognise this
This poll is conducted by Gallup as part of their World Poll series, and follows their World Poll methodology.
The Gallup polling is done ONLY in Arabic, and non-Arab respondents are excluded from the survey. In other words “It is estimated that more than half of the adult population is excluded.”
I would take the Qatar data with a huge pinch of salt.
That would make sense but Qatar is unusual in the fact the majority of residents are not citizens by a long way.
If you interviewed just the richest ten percent in the U.S. Then I think you would get a very happy country
The sample pool covers: “The entire country including rural areas, and the sampling frame represents the entire civilian, non-institutionalized adult population of the country.” Expats are included in the sample, although telephone interviews only reach “households” so even if the Asian laborers were included in the demographic cross section of the sample, they wouldn’t be contacted because they don’t live in “households” they live in labor camps.
That’s a useless distorted survey if I ever did see one. What a waste of money to produce a skewed result.
that’s just remind me how ‘happy’ I was when driving on the road and dealing with the Traffic Police…
I don’t worry about the TP, its the LCs I worry about.
The majority here earn little money. I believe some people are very happy here and others are very unhappy. It is over simplistic to use stats like -per capita and “freedom to make life decisions”. I think some qualitative research is needed.
really? Tell this to the abused maid, the abused worker and all those who face abuse problems. Yes there is also a lot of superficiality here….I wonder who comes up with these absurd surveys…..seriously?
Yeah I’ll just roll my eyes
There are many privileges of living in Qatar, being happy is not one of them. This is the where, for the first time of my life, I thought of seeking professional help for mental health!
Good luck finding any there hardly any good drs … For real
I wonder why! I hope the big oil and gas companies as well as the metro and other heavy construction projects have their own counselors as they employ a lot of ‘smart’ people (or do they?) who have access to dangerous chemicals and machinery. Keeping them sane is crucial to safety. A bored chemical engineer turned psycho can be a recipe for disaster!
depends, people find happiness in different things, so different places bring happiness to different people. i have friends living in France and make it sound like the most miserable place on earth, while many others love it there
You’re right. If one can’t accept their habitat regardless of all the pros and cons, they remain unhappy no matter where they are. As Qatar lacks many pros, it tries to compensate expats with money. Therefore it’s not suitable for an expat who doesn’t consider making money the best thing in life!
As for France though, no offence but it’s the only European country I wouldn’t want to live in 🙂 !!
Happy or funny, that is the question.
There maybe no corruption, but a lot of Wasta.
You may refer to it as bribery, but others see it as business facilitation…..
Or lobby, as it is called in western countries
There is a difference between lobbying and paying financial inducements
Are you sure? Lobby ends with money exchanging hands and decisions being taken for a private individual / company interest and not for public interest so…
bribery involve gifting something, dummy.
I would accept the results only if the breakdown by nationality/occupation for the 2,000 interviewed matched the country’s population statistics, i.e if 15% of the interviewed were Qatari nationals, 50% were low paid laborers from the Subcontinent (interviewed in what language???), etc. I wonder what those 50% would have commented about “Social Support”, “Trust” and “Freedom to Make Life Decisions”
This is quite possibly the most misleading headline ever seen on Doha News….
Amazing comments as expected… Thanks!
Expect amazing so… 🙂
So someone confirm this for me … The poll represents the opinions of first language Arabic speakers who make up roughly a third of the population ? If so I’m pretty sure if you factored in the opinions of the other two thirds Qatar would be nowhere near 28 th.
“Qatar’s high living standards, life expectancy and a lack of corruption make it one of the happiest countries on the planet (…)” I’m sorry, what now ? Lack of corruption ???? There is so much corruption that we can’t see it because of how well they hide it !
Qatar may be a good place to live in, but it cannot be one of the happiest countries… how can you call a country where over 2/3 of its population lives with a salary lower than 500$ a month ?? with unbearable living conditions ? people that have their passport taken away upon arrival ?
Of course, misery is everywhere, and even Barcelona who is in fact one of the happiest city in the world (100% agreed) still has issues ; but saying that Qatar is right below UAE with such few difference in their “points” is a bit doubtful…
Placing any of the Gulf countries in the top 30 happiest countries is pure deception. There are certainly positive aspects of UAE and Qatar, and the quality of life and HDI are above average when contrasted with the rest of the world, but as you mentioned, the negative aspects are overwhelming. Either way, happiness cannot be accurately measured. Years ago, I remember reading that Venezuela was the ‘world’s happiest country’. Happiness indices are a load of crock.
Qatar did not participate in 2013 or 2014 and the survey in 2012 “excludes more than half the population”. This survey is completely unreliable and constitutes misinformation.
Maybe for the citizens of Qatar but not for the resident aliens. They abuse them and treat them like crap.
You don’t have to go far for digging any facts. Look how they won to host the World Cup of Soccer and how they treat the third world country workers. It is ashame because it is almost like modern day slavery.
I guess it’s a good place to be if you could look the other way.
There are many Qataris who are not really happy with their lives, and the same goes for many of the well paid expats. Then, you can find many of the people who are at the lower end of income scale who are actually happy.
Does your view that “all Qataris are happy (and presumably rich)” make you feel less happy? Think about that 😉
If all Qataris were happy the country would have ranked first not 28th 🙂
Is “hopelessness” part of the index ? Let’s be serious; Saudi on place number 33?
Agreed. I travel to KSA a lot for work. Very depressing place. Seeing that country that high completely invalidates the entire survey in my opinion.
They were told what to say otherwise they are called bad Muslims
Some of these are quite unusual factors to measure. It sounds like they were trying to determine a happy nation but not focusing on what truly makes people happy.
Wealth stops being a factor up to a certain point. Once you are at the point of not struggling or your situation is not burdening you then it doesn’t contribute to your happiness. The happiness salary they found in the United States (this may vary in other countries due to cost of living) is $50,000 a year. The research found that increases in your salary after that does not contribute significantly to happiness.
When you get a raise or your status is increased you are temporarily happy and then you get used to it and then think you won’t be happy until you get to the next level. The term for this is called the hedonic treadmill or hedonic adaptation.
The extrinsic factors like money, image and status bring temporary satisfaction. Intrinsic factors that are more important are relationships (friends, family, community), personal growth and helping others (donations are not an accurate measurement).
There is research that also suggests that 50 percent of your happiness is genetics, 10 percent is your life circumstances and 40 percent is up to you (your thoughts and outlook). This is why positive psychology is now a hot topic.
This also helps explain why some wealthy people are miserable and others living with very little can be happy. This also helps explain why some people who have severe disabilities are happy, despite their conditions and they say that they are happy to be alive and feel blessed and grateful.
I have yet to read anything on being in extreme environments like war zones or abuse. I imagine those environments are excluded from happiness research.
Happiness is such a losely defined term. If you ask many people here they may not say that the above criteria are what makes them happy. Social security could be one factor in happiness, but its not everything.
I was reading the first article Qatar still one of the richest country before this one, yes i agree but all is in benefits of the citizens not for foreigners mostly those at the lower level even the rich foreign expact though they are not in the same category
jampating dozens in one room with low income to eat balance diet or have good saving to start a living.
Very strange survey. Everyone has already commented on the distortions in the survey. not much more to say
How is GDP per capita a reason for happiness? Isn’t life expectancy short here with all the dangerous driving and lack of seat belts?
How did Saudi even make it in the top 50, not possible.
That picture with the Qatari behind the counter is funny, never seen that before, no doubt he is happy because he doesn’t have to work.
The Qatari guy is Mr. Q, and he is working (iloveqatar rings a bell 😉 ), and I think in general he is just a very positive person 🙂
The guy in the pic runs a number of businesses and is also a stand up comedian
This is Hamad Al-Amari, Born Qatari and brought up in Dublin, Ireland, is one prominent stand-up comedian in Qatar. He is quite good.
If State of Qatar not good for you you can leave Qatar now.Do not stay here
You tell em Nasser. I bet you will even volunteer to fly the plane
He will take down the plane, to be sure we never come back here :)))
Closing the thread now, thanks for the discussion!