PH ranks 61st among world’s happiest countries during COVID-19 pandemic — study

Published March 25, 2021, 8:37 AM

by Roy Mabasa

The Philippines is the 61st happiest among the 149 countries in the world under the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic, according to the 2021 World Happiness Report (WHR) published by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network.


Based on the ninth WHR, the Philippines fell by 19 notches from its 42nd ranking in the periods from 2017 to 2019. 

The Philippines garnered a life average score of 5.8880 in the latest world happiness report. 

The 2021 WHR was launched on March 20 in time for the observance of the U.N International Day of Happiness.

Gallup World Poll was tapped to gather data by asking people to rate their own happiness, taking into account measurements such as gross domestic product, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity, perceptions of corruption, and dystopia to give each country a happiness score based on a three-year average 2018 to 2020. 

“2020 has been a year like no other. This whole report focuses on the effects of COVID-19 and how people all over the world have fared. Our aim was two-fold, first to focus on the effects of COVID-19 on the structure and quality of people’s lives, and second to describe and evaluate how governments all over the world have dealt with the pandemic,” the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network said in the report.

One significant finding in the report showed that emotions changed more than life satisfaction during the first year of COVID-19, worsening during the lockdown.  

European and Nordic countries mostly dominated the world’s top 10 rankings with Finland remaining the happiest for four consecutive years in a row, followed by Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway. Sweden, Luxembourg, New Zealand, and Austria. 

At the bottom of the world happiness rankings are India (139), Zimbabwe (148), and Afghanistan (149). 

In East Asia, Taiwan topped the Asian countries and the 24th happiest in the world, according to the report. Regionally, however, it placed second to Israel (12).

Taiwan bested its equally well-off neighbors such as Singapore (32), Japan (56), South Korea (62), Hong Kong (77), and China (84).

In Southeast Asia, Thailand ranked 54th along with Vietnam (79), Malaysia (81), Indonesia (82), and Cambodia (114).