LONDON: The UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain were the happiest Arab countries from 2020 to 2022, according to the World Happiness Report, which was published on Monday.
Lebanon, suffering from economic malaise and a political crisis, was the unhappiest Arab state and second-last out of the 137 countries measured in the study.
The report, titled “World Happiness, Trust and Social Connections in Times of Crisis,” surveyed respondents from around the world for the three years spanning the COVID-19 pandemic.
It measured well-being through three main indicators: life evaluations, positive emotions and negative emotions. Happiness rankings were based on a three-year average of life evaluations.
Several variables were also considered in the study, including gross domestic product per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity and freedom from corruption.
“Only at the extremes do country rankings for life evaluations differ significantly from all others — Finland at the top and Afghanistan and Lebanon at the bottom,” the report said.
Out of the 137 countries measured, the top three Arab countries were the UAE at 26, Saudi Arabia at 30 and Bahrain at 42.
The three Gulf states were the only Arab countries out of the 13 listed that were in the top third of the global list.
Nine Arab countries were not listed: Djibouti, Kuwait, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
The bottom half of the rankings included Algeria (81), Iraq (98), Palestine (99), Morocco (100), Mauritania (103), Tunisia (110), Egypt (121), Jordan (123), Comoros (130) and Lebanon (136). The only country listed behind Lebanon was Afghanistan.
The World Happiness Report highlighted several surprising findings, including that the number of benevolent acts in 2022 measured about a quarter higher than before the pandemic.
The gathered data appeared to confirm a range of studies showing that higher public trust led to more successful pandemic responses in countries around the world.
“The benefits of high trust were especially great for those in conditions of adversity, including ill-health, unemployment, low income, discrimination and unsafe streets,” the report said.
It added that its life evaluation metric “continued to be remarkably resilient,” with global averages throughout the pandemic measuring “just as high as those in the pre-pandemic years from 2017-2019.”