Jordan ranks 2nd as least happy country in the Arab world

(Photo: Envato Elements)
AMMAN — Jordan ranked second in the list of least happy countries in the Arab world in the 2022 World Happiness Report, after Lebanon, while internationally, it ranks 134 out of 146 countries.اضافة اعلان

The report is a publication of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network by the UN. This year marks the 10th edition of the report; it was published on March 18, to mark the International Day of Happiness, which falls on March 20.

Bahrain, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait are among the first 50 happiest countries in the world. Bahrain, which ranked as the happiest Arab country, comes 21st out of 146 countries, followed by UAE and Saudi Arabia, which rank in the 24th and 25th position, respectively.

In the World Happiness Report experts set the level of happiness according to various indicators: average life expectancy of the population, per capita GDP, social support, freedom to make life choices, generosity, and perceptions of corruption.

The top 10 happiest countries in the world are Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Sweden, Norway, Israel, and New Zealand. The least happy country globally was Afghanistan.

Professor of sociology Hussein Al-Khozahe told Jordan News that the report does not shock him since it is a realistic representation of the status of Jordanian society.

"Jordan's ranking (in the World Happiness Report) is in constant decline," because of the “many significant issues facing the Jordanian society,” Khozahe said, citing figures released by the Center for Strategic Studies, which show that the income of 80 percent of Jordanians is below the poverty line, the unemployment rate stands at 23.2 percent, and 45 percent of the youths want to immigrate.

Khozahe added other woes, like the decline in social justice and a drastic decline in freedom of expression and freedom of the press, besides the lack of social support.

"There is general distrust toward government institutions, legal system, clerics, labor unions, and political parties, and there is a lack of social support and of economic opportunities," Khozahe said.

Khozahe believes that the government should come up with a strategic plan to combat poverty and unemployment in the country.

Human engineering Professor Rula Bazadough told Jordan News that the report was generally fair and reflective of the true feelings of Jordanians. However, she pointed out that the complications imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the world economic crisis, and the Ukrainian-Russian war should have been taken into consideration as well.

"Lately, the whole world is edgy and anxious about the political situation and (the possibility of) a third world war, which might have affected countries differently," Bazadough said.

She listed several other reasons for Jordan’s low ranking, such as Jordanian's perception of happy living and lack of awareness about the importance of mental health, “which is stigmatized”.

"How Jordanians react and feel about things,” the fact that Jordan does not have many resources, and “the current world economic system could not help us to be happier," she said.

To address the many problems, Bazadough suggested “completely different national strategies based on sharing economy and improving social morality, in addition to applying new sciences, such as human engineering, digital humanities, and educational development methodologies to work on the sustainable development goals as a nation.”

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