BANGKOK — While “returning the happiness” has been the government’s motto for five years, the UN’s latest assessment found The Land of Smile pouting more than ever before.
Thailand dropped six spots to rank No. 52 of the 156 countries studied in the new World Happiness Report released Wednesday. It’s the lowest ranking held by the kingdom since it debuted at No. 18 when the annual report launched in 2012.
This year’s report, published just three days before the kingdom holds its first election in five years, draws upon global Gallup polling data to assess metrics including life expectancy, perceived corruption and freedom to make life decisions. This year’s theme put emphases on the quality of government, socially positive behaviors and improvements in information technology.
Finland was ranked the happiest country in the world for the second consecutive year. Last year’s report spotlighted the happiness of immigration populations in each country.
Rounding out the top five were Denmark, Norway, Iceland and the Netherlands, in that order.
Thailand was the second happiest country among ASEAN nations, following Singapore at No. 34. It had the second highest level of perceived corruption in the public and private sectors behind Malaysia.
The study also looked at the link between happiness and voting behaviors, finding that “happier people are not only more likely to engage in politics and vote, but are also more likely to vote for incumbent parties.”
The United States slipped one place to No. 19 and the United Kingdom moved up four spots to No. 15. The world’s least happy country was South Sudan.