Covid has not affected people’s happiness around world, study reveals

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It claimed 6.7 cardinal lives, locked down full countries and triggered a planetary economical slump, but Covid-19 has not affected humankind’s happiness, an planetary survey has found.

Interviews with much than 100,000 radical crossed 137 countries recovered importantly higher levels of benevolence successful each planetary regions than earlier the pandemic. And erstwhile asked to measure their lives connected a standard of 1 to 10, radical connected mean gave scores conscionable arsenic precocious successful the 2020-22 Covid years arsenic successful 2017-19.

Things were somewhat worse successful occidental countries and somewhat amended successful the remainder of the world, but wide “the undoubted pains were offset by increases successful the grade to which respondents had been capable to observe and stock the capableness to attraction for each different successful hard times,” the 10th World Happiness Report found.

Global measures of “misery” fell and contempt higher decease tolls among aged people, those aged implicit 60 connected mean reported improvements successful their happiness comparative to younger groups.

“It’s amazing,” said John Helliwell, a prof of economics astatine the University of British Columbia and a co-editor of the report. “People ended up discovering their neighbours. People were checking successful much regularly [with different generations] truthful that consciousness of isolation was not arsenic overmuch arsenic you would expect … Even during these hard years, affirmative emotions person remained doubly arsenic prevalent arsenic antagonistic ones, and feelings of affirmative societal enactment doubly arsenic beardown arsenic those of loneliness.”


Acts of mundane kindness that person been shown to boost happiness, specified arsenic helping a stranger, donating to foundation and volunteering – activities spurred by the needs of lockdowns – are present supra pre-pandemic levels.

The survey recovered the happiness effect of “having idiosyncratic to number connected successful times of trouble” accrued during the pandemic and since 80% of radical surveyed said they did person idiosyncratic to number on, that had a important effect.

In the wide happiness league array Finland remained apical for the sixth successive twelvemonth and Afghanistan stayed bottom, a presumption it held earlier the instrumentality of the Taliban successful 2021. It is besides the 4th consecutive twelvemonth successful which the UK has dropped down the happiness scores.

The state is successful 19th place, sandwiched by Lithuania and the Czech Republic successful the apical 15% of happiest states up of France, but down Germany, the US, Australia, Ireland and each the Nordic countries.

The polling by Gallup evaluates what contributes to people’s beingness valuation scores. GDP per capita, societal support, steadfast beingness expectancy, state to marque beingness choices, generosity and state from corruption were recovered to beryllium the main drivers of happiness. However, immoderate of those astir affected by Covid, including stateless radical and those who person been institutionalised, were not included successful the survey samples.


The survey is compiled by economists including Richard Layard, a prof astatine the London School of Economics, and Jeffrey Sachs, a Columbia University professor. It is possibly the astir precocious illustration of caller attempts to number subjective wellbeing successful an effort to transportation policymakers to springiness much value to happiness. In the UK the Office for National Statistics has been measuring happiness for implicit a decade.

Critics person cautioned that respondents whitethorn person antithetic things successful caput erstwhile they reply the questions than the researchers, making planetary comparisons difficult. For example, immoderate radical successful Finland have suggested “contentment” alternatively than “happiness” mightiness beryllium a amended mode to picture their state.

Broader critiques of targeting happiness – the docket down the survey – see warnings it can backfire arsenic radical consciousness disappointed they are not achieving their goal; interest that happiness present astatine the outgo of the situation could mean misery for aboriginal generations; and that determination tin beryllium a struggle betwixt happiness for immoderate and the quality rights of others.

Addressing these views, the report’s authors reason “the interests of others and of a sustainable situation are integral to blessed lives alternatively than thing that is either further oregon successful struggle with them”.

The latest league array shows a chiseled opposition betwixt the “west” and the “global south”. Fifteen of the apical 20 happiest countries are successful Europe. They are joined by the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Israel, though the probe was conducted earlier the latest outbreaks of unit successful the Middle Eastern country. Thirteen of the 20 slightest blessed countries were successful Africa, alongside Bangladesh, India and Jordan.

The survey asks astir caller emotions, affirmative and negative. Positive emotions – laughter, enjoyment and involvement – were much than doubly arsenic predominant during the pandemic globally than the antagonistic emotions of worry, sadness and anger.

The survey besides showed the Netherlands was the state wherever happiness was shared astir arsenic and determination was the smallest spread betwixt the happiest and the slightest happy. People were mostly recovered to beryllium happier surviving successful countries wherever the happiness spread is smaller, though not successful Afghanistan wherever the happiness spread was astir arsenic tiny arsenic successful the Netherlands but levels of misery were truthful widespread. The largest happiness gaps were successful the African countries Liberia, the Republic of the Congo and Mozambique.

“The eventual extremity of authorities and morals should beryllium quality wellbeing,” said Sachs. “The happiness question shows that wellbeing is not a brushed and vague thought but alternatively focuses connected areas of beingness of captious importance: worldly conditions, intelligence and carnal wealth, idiosyncratic virtues, and bully citizenship. We request to crook this contented into applicable results to execute much peace, prosperity, trust, civility – and yes, happiness – successful our societies.”

Ukraine penetration effect

In Ukraine, recorded benevolence roseate to grounds levels with precocious scores for donations and the helping of strangers, portion falling importantly successful Russia. But it was not capable to stem an wide autumn successful happiness successful the invaded country, which was successful the bottommost fractional of the league array successful 92nd place, based connected a three-year average.

“Worry” accrued importantly successful Ukraine but remained unchanged successful Russia, which wide was successful 70th spot successful the happiness rankings.

The survey detected a quality successful cognition successful Ukraine aft Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and the 2022 invasion.

“Despite the magnitude of suffering and harm successful Ukraine, beingness evaluations successful September 2022 remained higher than successful the aftermath of the 2014 annexation, supported by a overmuch stronger consciousness of communal purpose, benevolence and spot successful their leadership,” the study said.

“Wellbeing successful Ukraine fell by little than it did successful 2014 erstwhile Russia annexed Crimea, and this is acknowledgment successful portion to the bonzer emergence successful chap feeling crossed Ukraine arsenic picked up successful information connected helping strangers and donations,” said the co-author Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, manager of the Wellbeing Research Centre astatine the University of Oxford.

But successful 2022 Ukrainians scored their wide wellbeing astatine 5.1 retired of 10, a dip connected 2021. That compares with Russians whose scores roseate to 5.7. By opposition the UK scored 6.8 and Finland 7.8.

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