Laos Drops in Global Happiness Rankings, Economic Factors Play Key Role

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An ethnic group girl walks happily in the rice field. (Photo: Jclao)

In the 2024 global happiness report, Laos has slid down to the 94th position among more than 140 countries worldwide, marking a decline of 5 places compared to the previous year. This drop reflects the nation’s recent challenges, particularly in the realms of economic stability and quality of life.

On a global scale, Finland retains its title as the happiest place on Earth, while Afghanistan is once again at the bottom of the list in the World Happiness Report.

This marks the 12th year of publication of the UN-sponsored report, which gathers evaluations of happiness from tens of thousands of individuals alongside economic and social data. The assessment assigns a happiness score ranging from zero to 10 based on an average score over a three-year timeframe.

Laos obtained a score of 5.13 out of 10, while Finland, the happiest country, scored 7.74, and Afghanistan, the unhappiest country, received 1.72.

Analysis of happiness among different age groups reveals concerning trends. Laos ranks 104th for individuals under the age of 30, signaling lower happiness levels among younger generations compared to older individuals, who were ranked 78th. This indicates that younger generations are generally less happy than older individuals.

Moreover, individuals born before 1965 generally exhibit higher happiness levels than those born after 1980, indicating a decline in happiness among Millennials over the years, while Boomers’ life satisfaction has risen as they’ve aged.

According to the report, the level of happiness reflects the average life evaluations of a nation using six main factors such as GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom to make life choices, generosity, and absence of corruption.

In Laos, economic factors play a significant role in reducing overall happiness, with inflation emerging as a key concern. In February, the inflation rate spiked to 25.35 percent, up from 24.44 percent the previous month. This rise is attributed to the depreciation of the kip, weak domestic productivity, high import values, and challenges in regulating local market prices.

Despite challenges, the Lao central bank and government have assured to address the issue, aiming to reduce this rate by 9 percent in 2024.

As happiness rankings decline, urgent action is needed to tackle issues impacting people’s livelihoods, particularly economic challenges and quality of life.