According to the ‘World Happiness Report 2018’ published by the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Turkey takes 74th place among 156 countries in the happiness ranking. However, the report also debunks a presupposition which has its roots far back in history: Turkey is not hospitable at all, when it comes to immigrants! According to the Migrant Acceptance Index, Turkey ranks sixth to last in immigrant acceptance across the world.
According to the 2018 World Happiness Report, Finland has edged out Norway, the top country of 2017. This year, Finland is followed by Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland.
156 countries are evaluated according to various criteria in the study conducted by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network. These criteria are subjects such as gross national product per capita, average lifespan, social benefits, freedoms, confidence and welfare. The method is based on listing the points derived from each subject and ranking the countries by happiness according to their average score. The data used to classify countries are compiled from various globally accepted sources such as Gallup World Poll or World Values Survey.
THIS YEAR’S THEME: RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HAPPINESS AND MIGRATION
The report, which rates countries by happiness and welfare levels, is based on a different theme every year. The main focus of this year’s report has been determined as the relationship between happiness and migration on the basis of domestic and international migration in addition to the world happiness ranking.
In the latest report, 156 countries are ranked according to their level of happiness, and 117 countries according to the happiness of immigrants. The report scores the countries by inquiring the immigrants on their happiness in their current country and asking them whether that country is a preferred migration destination for them.
The general ranking of country happiness is based on the results derived from the Gallup World Poll conducted between 2015 and 2017. The subjects are addressed in public surveys, which reveal the public’s perception of the theme in question.
Gallup World Poll quantifies the following 14 subjects through fundamental questions:
- Business administration and economy
- Citizen involvement
- Communication and technology
- Diversity (social issues)
- Education and families
- Sentiments (welfare)
- Environment and energy
- Food and shelter
- Government and policy
- Law and order (security)
- Religion and ethics
SAME TOP FOUR COUNTRIES FOR THE PAST YEARS
Four countries have interchangeably taken the first four places in the last four reports of Gallup: Denmark, Switzerland, Norway and Finland. All of the top countries tend to have the highest values for all the six basic variables which have been found to support welfare: Income, healthy life expectancy, social benefits, freedom, environment of confidence, and generosity.
TURKISH PEOPLE ARE ONE OF THE LEAST WELCOMING COUNTRIES FOR IMMIGRANTS
Turkey takes one of the top places in the list of least welcoming countries for immigrants. Gallup has prepared the Migrant Acceptance Index to measure the local people’s sense of closeness with immigrants. According to the index, the least welcoming people for immigrants are the Egyptian people, while Turkish people have ranked 6th among the least welcoming countries.
One of the most striking findings of the whole report is the fact that the happiness ranking of immigrants is almost parallel with the happiness ranking of their current country. The happiest 10 countries in overall ranking also take the first 11 places in the ranking of immigrant happiness.
Turkey had ranked 69th in the 2017 happiness index with nine ranks higher compared to 2016. However, Turkey has lost five ranks in the report covering 2018. Turkey now ranks 74th within 156 countries in terms of “Happiness”.
LEAST HAPPY FIVE COUNTRIES ARE FROM AFRICA
Rising 17 ranks in the list, Togo has made the biggest leap, while Venezuela has become the country recording the most dramatic fall in happiness level, from 82 down to 102.
According to the list, all of the least happy countries are from Africa: Yemen, Tanzania, South Sudan, Central African Republic and Burundi.
WHAT IS A DYSTOPIA?
Dystopia is an imaginary country with the least happy people of the world. The purpose of founding a dystopia is to make a comparison where all countries can be positively compared in terms of each of the six key variables (no country performing worse than the Dystopia); therefore, it ensures that each lower bar has positive width. The lowest scores observed for six key variables characterize the Dystopia. Since life would be quite unpleasant in a country with the lowest income, lowest life expectancy, lowest generosity, high corruption, lowest freedom and lowest social benefits of the world, the country is referred to as “Dystopia” contrary to Utopia.
WHAT ARE “RESIDUALS”?
Residuals or unexplained components differ for each country. This explains to what extent these six variables are lower or higher than the 2015-2017 life assessments. These residuals have zero value on average across the whole country. Application of the equation in Figure 2.2, Table 2.1 to the average 2015-2017 data for the six variables in that country reveals the average residuals for each country. We combine these residuals for the life assessment forecast pertaining to the Dystopia; therefore, the combined bar always results in positive values. Although some life assessment residuals are quite high and occasionally exceed a certain point within a scale from 0 to 10, average life is always far lower than the value calculated in Dystopia, which stands at 1.85.
Translation: Nilay Iğdır