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Be Happy, Live in Latin America

Article Summary:

While northern Europe may take the crown for being the happiest region in the world, Latin America shows the most improvement and the highest potential for becoming the happiest region in the world.

Photo Credit: Latin Times

Original Article Text From Latin Times:

Happiest Countries In The World? Latin America Shows Most Increase In Happiness, Says New Report

According to a 156-nation survey by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, titled the 2013 World Happiness Report, the happiest people in the world live in northern Europe. Specifically, the happiest people in the world come from Denmark, Norway and Switzerland.

“There is now a rising worldwide demand that policy be more closely aligned with what really matters to people as they themselves characterize their well-being,” said Jeffrey D. Sachs, the director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute who was the co-editor of the report, in a statement. “More and more world leaders are talking about the importance of well-being as a guide for their nations and the world. The World Happiness Report 2013 offers rich evidence that the systematic measurement and analysis of happiness can teach us a lot about ways to improve the world’s well-being and sustainable development.”

While northern Europe may take the crown for being the happiest region in the world, Latin America shows the most improvement and thus, the most potential for becoming the happiest region in the world. The findings, as revealed by a new report released on Monday by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s 2013 World Happiness Report, clearly show that of the countries that have shown the most improvement in well-being, over half are Latin American. This is a significant change from the decline in happiness reported by the region from 2010-2012. “Among the 130 countries, we focus here on those whose average evaluations have changed by half a point on the zero to 10 scale,” the report reads. “Of these 32 countries, 19 saw improvements, and 13 showed decreases. Over half (10) of the countries with increased happiness were in Latin America and the Caribbean.”

“On a regional basis, by far the largest gains in life evaluations, in terms of the prevalence and size of the increases, have been in Latin America and the Caribbean… In Latin America and the Caribbean, more than three quarters of all countries showed significant increases in average happiness, with a population weighted average increase amounting to 7.0% of the 2005-07 value,” adds the report. The report based its findings from national statistics and multiple surveys, including the Gallup World Poll, to determine emotional happiness around the world and satisfaction with life around the globe.

Wondering why Latin America has shown strides? While it is hard to pinpoint an exact reason, the report indicates that the decrease in corruption could be a possible reason. “Perceptions of corruption were significantly improved (i.e. lower) in Latin America,” explains the report. “The prevalence of generosity, which here is not adjusted for differences in income levels, grew significantly throughout Asia, Central and Eastern Europe and the CIS, and for the world as a whole, while being significantly reduced in Sub-Saharan Africa, Western Europe, Latin America and MENA. Perceived freedom to make life choices grew significantly in Sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America, and shrank significantly in South Asia, NANZ and MENA.”

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From Latin Times

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