Indonesia Improves on Happiness Scale
Jakarta. Indonesia improved in its ranking in happiness, making it the 74th happiest country in the world, but the nation trailed regional neighbors, according to a recent global ranking in a report on happiness.
Singapore and Malaysia ranked 24th and 61st place, respectively, in the 2015 World Happiness Report, which was released on Thursday by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network — a global initiative for sustainable economic development under the United Nations.
Indonesia — which has the biggest economy in Southeast Asia — moved up two notches from 76th in the 2013 World Happiness Report.
Switzerland topped the list, followed by Iceland and Denmark, as Scandinavian nations continued to dominate the top ten positions in the happiness ranking. Among other Asian giants, China came in at 84th place, while the second most populous country, India, placed 117th.
First launched in 2012, the World Happiness Report is the third annual report that attempts to measure happiness in 158 countries across the world. The report captures average subjective well-being, aiming to provide a global social progress measurement on a dimension broader than just economic growth.
The report uses six variables to quantify happiness include gross domestic product per capita, perception of corruption, healthy life expectancy and perceived freedom to make life choices. The report also measured social support variable by asking whether respondents have someone to count on in times of trouble. The generosity variable, on the other hand, is measured by recent donations.
The report found that “differences in social support, incomes and healthy life expectancy are the three most important factors,” in separating countries’ level of happiness.
“The challenge is to ensure that policies are designed and delivered in ways that enrich the social fabric, and teach the pleasure and power of empathy to current and future generations,” according to the report, which was compiled by economists John Helliwell, Richard Layard and Jeffrey Sach. “When these social factors are well-rooted and readily available, communities and nations are more resilient.”
Still, Indonesia’s government has yet to factor in happiness in its policy-making initiatives, as the nation lags in producing jobs to help narrow the gap between rich and poor.
“In terms of GDP per capita, there is still a big disparity in income among Indonesians. This is one of the government’s tasks, which means initiating more labor-intensive programs in order to create jobs in the country,” said Aviliani, an economist at the Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (Indef).
“Corruption is also a culture that the government must continue to eradicate in the country.”
Source: The Jakarta Globe