THE Philippines maintained its ranking of third happiest among 55 countries in the world in 2017, according to the End of Year Survey by Gallup International.
The country earned a net happiness score (happy over unhappy) of +84 and came in after Fiji, which again emerged as the happiest country with a net score of +92, and Colombia, which ranked second with a net score of +87.
The Philippines was the third happiest in 2016 while Fiji was the happiest. China came in second in 2016, but didn't land a spot among the top 10 in 2017.
The same survey in 2017 also showed that the Philippines was top 5 in terms of economic optimism. But in terms of hope - whether the respondents thought 2018 would be better, or worse or the same as 2017 - the Philippines landed in 9th place.
The survey polled 1,000 respondents from each of 55 countries during the last quarter, October to December, of 2017, with a margin of error between +3-5% at 95% confidence level.
To determine the happiness score, each respondent was asked the question: Do you personally feel happy or unhappy about your life?
Roughly two out of three, or 59 percent, said they were happy, 11 percent were unhappy, and 28 percent were neutral.
Ijaz Gilani, Gallup Pakistan and Global Barometer project leader, was quoted on the Gallup website as saying that the analysis team of the global survey argued that "happiness depends less on the country in which you live and more on your age, income and education profile or lifestyle.”
The survey showed that net happiness across the 55 countries polled by survey is 15-percentage-point higher among the young (under 34 years of age) than among the older population (above 55 years of age).
The upscale income groups across these 55 countries are 32 percentage points happier than the bottom twenty percent groups in their societies. The college degree holders are happier than those whose education is up to primary school or those who are illiterate.
Other countries in the top 10 are Mexico, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, India, and Argentina tied with Netherlands in the 10th place.
In terms of economic optimism, the respondents were asked whether they think 2018 will be a year of economic prosperity or difficulty.
The Philippines received a net score of +32 (optimists over pessimists) and landed in 5th place, after Nigeria, Vietnam, Indonesia and India.
The rest of the top 10 in this category are Albania, Bangladesh, Fiji, Kosovo and Pakistan.
Gallup said net economic optimism among the polled countries has shown a downward trend from +23 in 2015 down to +20 in 2016 and further down to -2 in 2017.
The most pessimistic countries are Italy (net score of -50), Greece (net score of -42), and Turkey (net score of -40).
In terms of hope for 2018, the Philippines scored +40 and was top 9 among the optimists.
The country ranked higher than Sweden, which came in 10th place with a net score of +38.
Indonesia, with a net score of +66, is the most optimistic country, followed by Nigeria, Fiji, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Albania and Kosovo.
Gallup said roughly four out of 10 countries surveyed felt that 2018 will be better.
About a fourth of the respondents, or 23 percent, expect a worse one while one in three, or 32 percent, felt this year is going the be same as 2017. Around 6 percent do not know.
"Although hope leads ranking for another year, the number of optimists is decreasing throughout the world - as last New Year’s Eve was expected with a majority of 52 percent of the planet feeling that 2017 will be better than 2016," Gallup said. (Marites Villamor-Ilano / SunStar Philippines)