Amid the COVID19 pandemic, Pakistan's World Happiness ranking has dropped from 66 (score 5.693) among 153 nations last year to 105 (score 4.934) among 149 nations ranked this year. Neighboring India is ranked 139 and Afghanistan is last at 149. Nepal is ranked 87, Bangladesh 101, Pakistan 105, Myanmar126 and Sri Lanka129. Finland retained the top spot for happiness and the United States ranks 19th.
|Pakistan Happiness Index Trend 2013-2021|
One of the key reasons for decline of happiness in Pakistan is that the country was forced to significantly devalue its currency as part of the IMF bailout it needed to deal with a severe balance-of-payments crisis. The rupee devaluation sparked inflation, particularly food and energy inflation. Global food prices also soared by double digits amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to Bloomberg News. Bloomberg Agriculture Subindex, a measure of key farm goods futures contracts, is up almost 20% since June. It may in part be driven by speculators in the commodities markets. These rapid price rises have hit the people in Pakistan and the rest of the world hard. In spite of these hikes, Pakistan remains among the least expensive places for food, according to recent studies. It is important for Pakistan's federal and provincial governments to rise up to the challenge and relieve the pain inflicted on the average Pakistani consumer.
The year 2020 has been a tough year for the world as the COVID19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll both in terms of physical and economic health of the people. Jeffrey Sachs, a development economist who contributed to the report, addressed the impact of the pandemic by saying: “We need urgently to learn from COVID-19. The pandemic reminds us of our global environmental threats, the urgent need to cooperate, and the difficulties of achieving cooperation in each country and globally. The World Happiness Report 2021 reminds us that we must aim for wellbeing rather than mere wealth, which will be fleeting indeed if we don’t do a much better job of addressing the challenges of sustainable development.”
|Pakistan Happiness Trend 2005-2021. Source: World Happiness Report 2021|
The World Happiness Report 2021 uses metrics such as GDP, social support, personal freedom and levels of corruption to give each nation a happiness score, which is an average of the past three years. But unlike in the past years, this year the index included surveys on how countries have dealt with the COVID19 pandemic.
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