This year marks the 10th anniversary of the World Happiness Report, which uses global survey data to report how people evaluate their own lives in more than 150 countries worldwide.
The World Happiness Report 2022 reveals a bright light in dark times. The pandemic brought not only pain and suffering but also an increase in social support and benevolence. And the same can be said for the conflict in Ukraine, where stories of courage, kindness, help and love have been seen on our Happy Ali features.
As we battle the ills of disease and war, it is essential to remember the universal desire for happiness and the capacity of individuals to rally to each other’s support in times of great need.
The World Happiness Report and much of the growing international interest in happiness exist thanks to Bhutan. They sponsored Resolution 65/309, “Happiness: Towards a holistic approach to development,” adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 19 July 2011, inviting national governments to “give more importance to happiness and well-being in determining how to achieve and measure social and economic development.”
On 2 April 2012, chaired by Prime Minister Jigmi Y. Thinley and Jeffrey D. Sachs, the first World Happiness Report was presented to review evidence from the emerging science of happiness for the ‘Defining a New Economic Paradigm: The Report of the High-Level Meeting on Well-being and Happiness.’ On 28 June 2012, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/281, proclaiming 20 March International Day of Happiness to be observed annually. The World Happiness Report is now released every year around March 20th as part of the International Day of Happiness celebration.
The preparation of the first World Happiness Report was based at the Earth Institute at Columbia University, with the Centre for Economic Performance’s research support at LSE (the London School of Economics), and CIFAR (the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research), through their grants supporting research at the Vancouver School of Economics at UBC (the University of British Columbia). The central base for the reports since 2013 has been SDSN (Sustainable Development Solutions Network) and CSD (the Center for Sustainable Development) at Columbia University, directed by Jeffrey D. Sachs. Although the editors and authors are volunteers, there are administrative, and research support costs covered most recently through a series of grants from The Ernesto Illy Foundation, illycaffè, Davines Group, Unilever’s largest ice cream brand Wall’s, The Blue Chip Foundation, The William, Jeff, and Jennifer Gross Family Foundation, The Happier Way Foundation, and The Regenerative Society Foundation.
Although the World Happiness Reports are based on a wide variety of data, the most important source has always been the Gallup World Poll, unique in its range and comparability of global annual surveys.