Himachal gets the ‘Happiest State’ tag second time in a row in HappyPlus survey

Among bigger states, Maharashtra bags second position

Himachal Pradesh Representational image

It is safe to say that Finland has become the world’s happiest country after retaining the first position in the World Happiness Report for six consecutive years. India, on the other hand, stands merely at 126th position out of the 137 countries taken into consideration in the 2023 survey.

However, to change the narrative about India and to find out India’s own happy place in the world, HR firm HappyPlus Consulting recently came out with India’s own happiness survey. According to their findings, Himachal Pradesh is the happiest place in the country. The state has retained the top position for the second consecutive year.

The overall rankings are based on various indices on the life ladder like positive and negative impacts, social support, freedom of choice, generosity, perception of corruption which are taken alongside certain objective data on prosperity per capita net state domestic product, consumer price index (CPI), literacy rate, healthy life expectancy at birth, multidimensional poverty index and health index.

Among bigger states, Maharashtra bags second position, Odisha and Kerala third and fourth positions respectively, and Uttar Pradesh came last, at 20th place. 

Among smaller states, Goa, Mizoram and Tripura are the top three happiest places with Arunachal Pradesh ranking last (eighth). Lakshadweep, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Delhi have the top three positions among union territories and Dadra and Nagar Haveli was ranked last. 

According to Dr Ashish Ambasta, founder-CEO of HappyPlus Consulting, the report was conceptualised to understand happiness at a granular level in the Indian context.

 “Apart from macro conditions, this survey understands micro conditions like (relationships, meaningfulness, achievement and work),” he says. “Taking both micro and macro conditions together gives a holistic picture of happiness and the data is also presented at state level. Another element of this study is the robustness of the sample size. While last year, the study asked happiness questions to 24,000 people in India, this time we asked 14,000 people.” The first survey was conducted last year.

Compared to last year, more people reported 'unhappy' this year. While 2 out of 10 were unhappy last year, the report suggests 5 out of 10 were unhappy this year. The top five reasons for unhappiness are lack of financial empowerment, workplace pressure, society and its regulations (rigid thinking), loneliness, isolation, and even uncertainties caused by the Covid pandemic.

Negative emotions like anger and sadness were also higher in 2023, as compared to 2022, especially among those below 18 years and above 60. While only 4 out of 10 felt they have a strong relationship in life, 17 per cent of India’s population was found to be thriving- reporting significantly fewer stress attacks, less worry, sadness, depression and anger; and more happiness, social support, generosity, achievement, meaning and purpose in life. 

The findings are based on nearly 14,000 survey data samples collected across all 36 states and union territories in the country. The report further suggests that 65 per cent people in India were experiencing happiness in 2023 as compared to 75 per cent in 2022. Happiness is linked with positive emotions and clearly people of Mizoram, Ladakh, Andaman and Nicobar, Odisha, Lakshadweep and Nagaland had an edge over those living in the hinterland. 

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