Home » Switzerland falls behind in happiness ranking

Switzerland falls behind in happiness ranking

Switzerland falls behind in happiness ranking

This year, Switzerland slipped further in the global happiness ranking and is now in 9th place. The year before it was 8th, and two years earlier it was 4th.

Photo by Nina Uhlikova on Pexels.com

The ranking is based on polling across the world. It aims to get beyond narrow measures of wellbeing such as GDP and HDI. It gathers a broad range of data and questions people on qualitative aspects of life. It looks at GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy at birth and generosity. It is then adjusts for things that add positively and negatively to life.

Why has Switzerland lost so much ground over recent years? The simple answer is probably that it hasn’t. Differences in scores among the leading nations are small. The top 10: Finland (7.74), Denmark (7.58), Iceland (7.53), Sweden (7.34), Israel (7.34), Netherlands (7.32), Norway (7.30), Luxembourg (7.12), Switzerland (7.06) and Australia (7.06), all score above 7.

These scores stand in stark contrast to those at the least happy end of the ranking. Lebanon (2.70) and Afghanistan (1.72) are at the very bottom of the 155 nations covered with scores far below 7 – see full ranking here.

What ingredients keep Switzerland in the top ten? Wealth and job security seem to be key drivers. Job security is relatively high, and low levels of unemployment make replacing a job relatively easy. In between jobs, two years of generous unemployment insurance mean the economic shock of losing and finding new employment isn’t severe. This all adds up to a greater sense of security.

Switzerland’s political system also helps. Frequent referenda ensure the Swiss do not feel powerless and at the mercy of the system.

Economist Mathias Binswanger told SRF that there is a tendency in Switzerland to focus on the negative or what we don’t have. He thinks this partly explains why Switzerland lags behind Scandinavian nations where the Protestant tradition of finding contentment in what you have still prevails.

Possibly an urban myth, Switzerland is reputed to have its own version of Murphy’s Law known as Müller’s Law. This states that whatever can go wrong, will go wrong, but we’ll be prepared for it. This might be a great mindset for heading off trouble. But it could negatively affect happiness.

More on this:
World happiness report 2024 (in English)

For more stories like this on Switzerland follow us on Facebook and Twitter.