Thursday, April 25, 2024

Batswana are increasingly unhappy 

Botswana has fallen five spots from its previous ranking in the World Happiness Report, it has emerged. 

The 2024 World Happiness Report released recently shows that in 2023, Botswana was ranked 132 in the World Happiness Report out of 143 countries in the world but is now ranked 137 out of 143 countries.  

According to the report, countries that are at the bottom 10 are Zambia (134) Eswatini (135), Malawi (136), Botswana (137), Zimbabwe (138), Congo (139) Sierra Leone (140), Lesotho (141), Lebanon (142), and Afghanistan (143).  

The report shows that the top 10 rankings for the year 2024, Finland, Denmark, Iceland,  Sweden, Israel, Netherlands, Norway, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Australia. The report states that one of the reasons for a heavy drop across the nations surveyed is the widespread concern about an emerging epidemic of loneliness, and about the consequences of loneliness for mental and physical health.

According to the report; “Although overall levels of loneliness are not unduly high in global terms, there is a significantly different pattern across the generations.” 

“Loneliness is almost twice as high among the Millennials than among those born before 1965. Millennials also feel less socially supported than Boomers in those countries, another place in which these countries look different from the rest of the world,” the report says. It says “This is despite the fact that actual social connections are much more frequent for Millennials than Boomers, and about as frequent as for Generation X.”

The report explains that the results are based on self-assessments from people in more than 143 countries who are answering questions regarding their overall satisfaction with their lives. Some of the  key variables which contribute to explaining life evaluations, include GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity and corruption.

The report, released in partnership with Gallup, the Oxford Wellbeing Research Centre, the U.N. Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and the WHR’s Editorial Board, coincides with the International Day of Happiness, observed annually on 20 March.

The Gallup World Poll surveyed approximately 1,000 respondents in nearly every country on various issues, one of which was to evaluate their current standard of life on certain parameters

The researchers said they focused “on the happiness of people at different stages of life.” The report says “happiness research shows a more nuanced picture, and one that is changing over time.”

“In the West, the received wisdom was that the young are the happiest and that happiness thereafter declines until middle age, followed by substantial recovery. But since 2006-10, as we shall see, happiness among the young (aged 15-24) has fallen sharply in North America – to a point where the young are less happy than the old. Youth happiness has also fallen (but less sharply) in Western Europe,” the report says. It added that; “By contrast, happiness at every age has risen sharply in Central and Eastern Europe, so that young people are now equally happy in both parts of Europe.” 

In the former Soviet Union and East Asia too there have been large increases in happiness at every age, while in South Asia and the Middle East and North Africa happiness has fallen at every age. It is of course an issue to what extent these changes reflect generational changes that can be expected to persist as each generation gets older,” the report,” says the report. 

The report says since 2006-10, the inequality of happiness has increased in every region except Europe – another worrying trend. 

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