Singapore is the happiest Southeast Asian nation, according to the fourth World Happiness Report, released last week. The city-state was ranked 22nd on the list of more than 150 countries, while the lowest ranked was Cambodia, coming in at 140th.
According to the report, Southeast Asia comes in second place – just behind Western Europe and ahead of East Asia – among regions in the world with the most equal distributions of happiness.
Prepared by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network – a group of economists, psychologists and public health experts from around the world brought together by the UN – the report compiles data from roughly 3,000 respondents in each of the 157 countries surveyed.
Elsewhere in Southeast Asia, Thailand came 33rd on the list, making it the region’s second-happiest nation, followed somewhat surprisingly by Malaysia, which ranked 47th.
Respondents were asked a series of questions intended to determine their happiness on a scale from zero to 10, with zero indicating the least happy.
Researchers found that social support, income and healthy life expectancy as the three most important factors related to a person’s happiness. The report claimed that human beings are “by their nature oriented toward broader notions of happiness that are intimately tied to the common good”.
Brunei and Timor-Leste were not included in the report, but the full results for Southeast Asia were:
1. Singapore (22nd on list)
2. Thailand (33)
3. Malaysia (47)
4. Indonesia (79)
5. Philippines (82)
6. Vietnam (96)
7. Laos (102)
8. Myanmar (119)
9. Cambodia (140)