Mexico Drops 10 Places on Happiness RankBy Miriam Bello | Mon, 03/28/2022 - 17:20
The World Happiness Report 2022 ranks Finland as the happiest country in the world for its fifth time in a row. In the results, Mexico dropped 10 spots to land in 46th place. While many factors influence the outcomes, health and COVID-19 heavily influenced this year’s results.
The report considers several economic indicators, such as a country’s GDP, healthy life expectancy, the perception of social support, the feeling of freedom of choice, altruism, the perception of corruption and the experience of positive and negative emotions. Additionally, this years’ review considered the collateral effects of COVID-19.
The countries that scored higher on the happiness rank report general growth in real GDP per capita and healthy life expectancy and overall declining perceptions of corruption. The consideration affecting Mexico’s grade the most was the constant decline in overall levels of social support.
Health plays a pivotal role in generating happiness, and vice versa. Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs explains that meeting the basic needs of a person is the core of happiness and personal development. Health is found in the second level of Maslow’s pyramid, just above one’s physiological needs.
The happiest country in the report, Finland, has a socialized but decentralized healthcare system financed in a fragmented manner, with municipalities, health insurers, employers and families each paying for a portion of healthcare. Out-of-pocket payments comprise about 20 percent of Finland’s health expenditures, whereas in Mexico these payments represent up to 46 percent of the total expenditure in healthcare.
Its healthcare system has allowed Finland to rank third in the Global Health Security Index, as the country is highly capable of detecting diseases, responding to health emergencies and reducing public health risk. As such, this system’s stability has been a large contributor for Finland’s high healthy life expectancy, which greatly contributes to the country’s leading position in the happiness report.
The report also suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic reduced the effect of income on life satisfaction while increasing the positive impact of having someone to count on in times of trouble. However, the pandemic increased the negative impact on happiness of having a health problem or suffering from unemployment.
The pandemic’s first five weeks caused anxiety and sadness to grow by about 10 percent and 8 percent, respectively, among Mexicans. Feelings of anger decreased by about 3 percent, while positive emotions in general decreased by about 5 percent.
One of the report’s most remarkable findings was that countries where citizens trusted their governments and each other experienced lower COVID-19 death tolls and set the stage for maintaining or rebuilding a sense of common purpose to live happier, healthier and more sustainably. In Latin America, the report found that institutional trust was poor between 2006 and 2021, fluctuating between 0.1 to 0.2, a low figure compared to the highest ranked, Southeast Asia, at a 0.5.