Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness Index may not have led to it being the happiest country, but it has improved life spans and produced other tangible gains.
They measure nine key areas of happiness every five years — psychological well-being, health, education, good governance, ecology, time use, community vitality, culture and living standards. Two surveys have been conducted so far, in 2010 and 2015, with another one due next year.
The 2015 survey sampled more than 7,000 Bhutanese from across the country. It yielded some interesting results.
“The harder components like living standard, health, access to health or access to education and so on, they’re improving in Bhutan,” said Tshoki Zangmo, a researcher at the Centre.
“But the softer components like psychological well-being or the trust indicator that we have in our community vitality domain, those were deteriorating,” she added. “The trust indicator within urban areas in the country, they were deteriorating.”
That’s right. Bhutan is not the happiest country in the world. It actually ranks 95th out of 156 countries in the 2019 World Happiness Report. Much of that has to do with the nation’s poverty, and the challenges of bringing economic and social equity to a predominately agricultural society.