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‘Don’t worry, be happy’ seems to have bypassed the Caribbean

By Caribbean News Now contributor

NEW YORK, USA — The fifth annual World Happiness Report, written by a group of independent experts under the aegis of the United Nations, was published on Monday, but the concept immortalised in song of “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”, often erroneously attributed to Bob Marley, seems to have bypassed the Caribbean.

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In fact, out of a total of 155 countries listed, the first four that could be considered part of the wider Caribbean are mainland countries: Mexico (25), Guatemala (29), Panama (30) and Colombia (36).

The first island country listed, somewhat surprisingly given the rampart crime problems there, is Trinidad and Tobago (38).

This is followed by two more Central American countries: Nicaragua (43) and Belize (50). The next Caribbean island is Jamaica (76), followed by Venezuela (82); another island, the Dominican Republic (86); and Honduras (91) also in Central America.

Bringing up the regional rear, possibly to no one’s surprise, is Haiti (145).

Happiness is increasingly considered the proper measure of social progress and is measured by the report on the basis of six key variables, each of which digs into a different aspect of life.

These six factors are 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).

The full table below shows the average score, asking people to evaluate the quality of their current lives on a scale of 0 to 10) for each country, averaged over the years 2014-2016.

Ranking of Happiness 2014-2016

1. Norway (7.537)
2. Denmark (7.522)
3. Iceland (7.504)
4. Switzerland (7.494)
5. Finland (7.469)
6. Netherlands (7.377)
7. Canada (7.316)
8. New Zealand (7.314)
9. Australia (7.284)
10. Sweden (7.284)
11. Israel (7.213)
12. Costa Rica (7.079)
13. Austria (7.006)
14. United States (6.993)
15. Ireland (6.977)
16. Germany (6.951)
17. Belgium (6.891)
18. Luxembourg (6.863)
19. United Kingdom (6.714)
20. Chile (6.652)
21. United Arab Emirates (6.648)
22. Brazil (6.635)
23. Czech Republic (6.609)
24. Argentina (6.599)
25. Mexico (6.578)
26. Singapore (6.572)
27. Malta (6.527)
28. Uruguay (6.454)
29. Guatemala (6.454)
30. Panama (6.452)
31. France (6.442)
32. Thailand (6.424)
33. Taiwan (6.422)
34. Spain (6.403)
35. Qatar (6.375)
36. Colombia (6.357)
37. Saudi Arabia (6.344)
38. Trinidad and Tobago (6.168)
39. Kuwait (6.105)
40. Slovakia (6.098)
41. Bahrain (6.087)
42. Malaysia (6.084)
43. Nicaragua (6.071)
44. Ecuador (6.008)
45. El Salvador (6.003)
46. Poland (5.973)
47. Uzbekistan (5.971)
48. Italy (5.964)
49. Russia (5.963)
50. Belize (5.956)
51. Japan (5.920)
52. Lithuania (5.902)
53. Algeria (5.872)
54. Latvia (5.850)
55. Moldova (5.838)
56. South Korea (5.838)
57. Romania (5.825)
58. Bolivia (5.823)
59. Turkmenistan (5.822)
60. Kazakhstan (5.819)
61. North Cyprus (5.810)
62. Slovenia (5.758)
63. Peru (5.715)
64. Mauritius (5.629)
65. Cyprus (5.621)
66. Estonia (5.611)
67. Belarus (5.569)
68. Libya (5.525)
69. Turkey (5.500)
70. Paraguay (5.493)
71. Hong Kong (5.472)
72. Philippines (5.430)
73. Serbia (5.395)
74. Jordan (5.336)
75. Hungary (5.324)
76. Jamaica (5.311)
77. Croatia (5.293)
78. Kosovo (5.279)
79. China (5.273)
80. Pakistan (5.269)
81. Indonesia (5.262)
82. Venezuela (5.250)
83. Montenegro (5.237)
84. Morocco (5.235)
85. Azerbaijan (5.234)
86. Dominican Republic (5.230)
87. Greece (5.227)
88. Lebanon (5.225)
89. Portugal (5.195)
90. Bosnia and Herzegovina (5.182)
91. Honduras (5.181)
92. Macedonia (5.175)
93. Somalia (5.151)
94. Vietnam (5.074)
95. Nigeria (5.074)
96. Tajikistan (5.041)
97. Bhutan (5.011)
98. Kyrgyzstan (5.004)
99. Nepal (4.962)
100. Mongolia (4.955)
101. South Africa (4.829)
102. Tunisia (4.805)
103. Palestinian Territories (4.775)
104. Egypt (4.735)
105. Bulgaria (4.714)
106. Sierra Leone (4.709)
107. Cameroon (4.695)
108. Iran (4.692)
109. Albania (4.644)
110. Bangladesh (4.608)
111. Namibia (4.574)
112. Kenya (4.553)
113. Mozambique (4.550)
114. Myanmar (4.545)
115. Senegal (4.535)
116. Zambia (4.514)
117. Iraq (4.497)
118. Gabon (4.465)
119. Ethiopia (4.460)
120. Sri Lanka (4.440)
121. Armenia (4.376)
122. India (4.315)
123. Mauritania (4.292)
124. Congo (Brazzaville) (4.291)
125. Georgia (4.286)
126. Congo (Kinshasa) (4.280)
127. Mali (4.190)
128. Ivory Coast (4.180)
129. Cambodia (4.168)
130. Sudan (4.139)
131. Ghana (4.120)
132. Ukraine (4.096)
133. Uganda (4.081)
134. Burkina Faso (4.032)
135. Niger (4.028)
136. Malawi (3.970)
137. Chad (3.936)
138. Zimbabwe (3.875)
139. Lesotho (3.808)
140. Angola (3.795)
141. Afghanistan (3.794)
142. Botswana (3.766)
143. Benin (3.657)
144. Madagascar (3.644)
145. Haiti (3.603)
146. Yemen (3.593)
147. South Sudan (3.591)
148. Liberia (3.533)
149. Guinea (3.507)
150. Togo (3.495)
151. Rwanda (3.471)
152. Syria (3.462)
153. Tanzania (3.349)
154. Burundi (2.905)
155. Central African Republic (2.693)

The full report may be accessed here.