Why Are Indians Less Happy Than Pakistanis?

The World Happiness Report 2015 ranks Pakistan at 81, well ahead of India ranked at 117 among 158 countries surveyed.  Not surprisingly,  Switzerland is home to the happiest people in the world. The top 10 on the list are rich industrialized countries of the world.

Pakistan happiness index score has declined by 0.312 since 2008, the year Pakistan became a "democracy" after 8 years of "military rule" by President Pervez Musharraf.

The World Happiness Report bases each country’s ranking on six variables: GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity, and freedom from corruption.

The prevalence of depression is among the key factors determining a country's happiness. The report notes that Pakistan has made significant efforts in treating rural women's depression. Here's an excerpt from the report:

"Community health workers (Lady Health Workers) were trained to identify and treat maternal depression, using a CBT-based ( intervention (the Thinking Healthy Program). The initiative used 16 home-based individual sessions and included active listening, collaboration with the family, guided discovery and homework (Cognitive Behavioral Therapists) is, trying things out between sessions, practicing what was learned). Forty local areas were assigned to either intervention or routine care, with about 450 mothers in each group. At follow-up sessions (after six months) the experimental group included 23% still depressed, compared with 53% in the control group. In another study, psychoeducation is being offered to all mothers."

Lancet paper describes the mental health intervention as follows:

"Lady Health Workers (LHWs) were trained to deliver a Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) based intervention to depressed women, beginning in the last trimester of pregnancy and ending at 10 months postpartum. The intervention is based in a psychosocial model and not presented as a ‘treatment’ for a ‘mental health problem’ but rather as way to improve positive and healthy thinking around the mother and the baby. The actual delivery of the intervention was integrated into the routine work of the existing community health worker – called Lady Health Worker (LHW) and delivered at the women’s’ home. LHWs are mainly responsible for maternal and child health care".

The Lady Health Workers (LHW) program in Pakistan has been described as “one of the best community-based health systems in the world” by Dr. Donald Thea, a Boston University researcher and one of the authors of a recent Lancet study on child pneumonia treatment in Pakistan. He talked with the New York Times about the study.

Pakistan's relatively lower levels of depression and suicides (less than 3 per 100,000) in South Asia are reflected in the region's suicide statistics. A 2013 scientific paper titled "Mental Depression of Indian Women" published in "Anthropology"  described the situation in India as follows: "Suicidal rate in India is higher comparing to other countries in the world. In each year over a half million people put their own lives down globally, of them 20% are Indians (17% of world population). However, during last two decades the rate of suicide has increased from 7.9 to 10.3 per 100,000".

India's youth suicide rate of 30-40 per 100,000 is among the highest in the world, according to a Lancet study. In addition, Indian farmers' suicides are continuing unabated at a rate of one every 30 minutes for the last two decades.

The problem of suicides appears to be at least in part due to the fact that India's value added agriculture continues be among the lowest in the world. Unlike India, Pakistan managed to significantly raise agriculture productivity and rural incomes in 1980s through a livestock revolution. Economic activity in dairy, meat and poultry sectors now accounts for just over 50% of the nation's total agricultural output. The result is that per capita value added to agriculture in Pakistan is almost twice as much as that in Bangladesh and India.

The key to improving happiness in developing countries like India and Pakistan is to focus on meeting basic needs such as education, nutrition and hygiene, in addition to addressing issues of health, including mental health.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan's Lady Health Workers Best in the World

Farmer Suicides in India

Agriculture Value Addition in Pakistan

Pakistan Ranks High on Happy Planet Index

Are India and Pakistan Failed States?

India and Pakistan Off-Track Off-Target on Toilets

Pakistani Democracy's Education Report Card

President Musharraf Gained Legitimacy By Good Governance

Views: 435

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 4, 2015 at 10:58am

#India ranks behind #Pakistan and #Iraq on the World Happiness Index. Why is India unhappy? http://social.yourstory.com/2015/07/why-is-india-unhappy/ … via @_SocialStory

India ranks behind Pakistan and Iraq on the World Happiness Index. Why is India unhappy?

Why is India unhappy? The World Happiness index takes into account factors like GDP per capita, social support of having someone to count on in times of trouble, freedom to make life choices, healthy life expectancy, generosity and perceptions of corruption. Seems like half the question is answered, isn’t it? As I dug deeper into finding out why we are unhappy as a nation, I happened to stumble upon a host of disturbing facts and statistics: A 13 year analysis of Crime Data reveals there is one rape every 30 minutes in India One in five cases of honour killing internationally every year comes from India (United Nations) The rate of malnutrition cases among children in India is almost five times more than in China and twice than in Sub-Saharan Africa (The World Bank Report) 12 million children spend their childhood at work and not in a classroom (Census 2011) 270 million persons live below the Tendulkar Poverty Line (NSSO Survey 2013) In addition to these startling facts, the scams and controversies which keep popping up every other day are only adding to the misery.

Our so called ‘resistance’ to a lot of mishaps occurring around us has often been misquoted as ‘strength’ and this is exactly where we are going wrong. We need to take note, speak up and not ‘resist’. While it’s alright to be resilient, the onus lies upon each of us to make the quality of living better for both ourselves and those around us. This along with changes in our public policies can go a long way in improving our quality of life. The rank however is only a number, do good every day,be intolerant towards injustice and follow public discipline, because happiness like everything else, is a result of your own deeds. ... read more on social.yourstory.com

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 19, 2015 at 10:29pm

#Pakistan designer Huma Nassr robbed in #NewDelhi #India during Shan-e-Pakistan Fashion exhibit http://dnai.in/cUc3 via @dna @AzaanJavaid

From hassles of getting through Wagah border to robberies, Pakistani designers currently in India for Shaan-e-Pakistan, a two-day fashion and lifestyle exhibition, have been experiencing a harrowing time in the Capital. Huma Nassr, the organiser of Shaan-e-Pakistan festival had her purse, which had in it, jewellery worth Rs 12 lakh, Rs70,000 in cash and credit cards, stolen when she visited the Nizamuddin Dargah in Southeast Delhi.

The manner in which Huma's purse was stolen is, however, not as strange as the way it was returned to her husband merely half an hour after the incident took place here on Thursday.

Originally from Karachi, Huma on the day of the incident was on her way to Hotel Grand in South Delhi when she and her husband decided to make a stop at Nizamuddin shrine. Her driver, identified as Vikas, parked the car nearby and remained seated in the vehicle.

"I had kept my bag in the back-seat and hidden it under newspapers. I had told the driver to take care of it but when we returned the driver told me that two men had knocked on the window of the car saying that it was leaking oil. The driver claims that when he returned the purse was gone.

"I broke down in the middle of the road. Someone told us that local police station is nearby so we rushed to the station. The SHO spoke to us and came to know that we were from Pakistan. He then left for a meeting. Few minutes later we got a call from someone telling that my purse was found in Lajpat Nagar area which is few kilometres from here. The husband and few police officials went to collect the purse and when they opened it, the only thing that was in the purse was my passport," Huma said.

According to police, an FIR has been registered against unknown people but so far investigators have failed to identify the any of the suspects. "Other than the jewellery, there was currency from India, Pakistan, Dubai and United States. Everything was gone. I will visit the Pakistani High Commission as well," said Huma who has been coming to India for the last six years.

Local police confirmed Huma's story's but contended some of her claims. "The ornaments were worth Rs3-4 lakh and the purse was returned to her. A shopkeeper told us that a boy in his teens handed over the purse saying that he had found it on the roadside," said a senior police officer posted in the area.

Huma however said the police have not been as helpful as she was expecting them to be. "I thought I was a guest here," she said. Mandeep Singh Randhawa, the Deputy Commissioner of police (southeast) said that the facts of the case needed to be checked and for that an investigation is already underway.

Earlier dna had reported about the problems faced by the designers at the customs department.

Comment by Riaz Haq on March 17, 2016 at 7:48am
#Pakistanis (rank 92) are happier than people in #India (ranked 118) #SDGs #WorldHappinessReport http://toi.in/KqQ6nY39 via The Times of India
India did not make any improvement in its happiness quotient, ranking 118th out of 156 countries in a global list of the happiest nations, down one slot from last year on the index and coming behind China, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Denmark takes the top spot as the happiest country in the world, displacing Switzerland, according to The World Happiness Report 2016, published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), a global initiative for the United Nations.
The report takes into account GDP per capita, life expectancy, social support and freedom to make life choices as indicators of happiness.
Switzerland was ranked second on the list, followed by Iceland (3), Norway (4) and Finland (5).
India ranked 118th, down from 117th in 2015.
The report said that India was among the group of 10 countries witnessing the largest happiness declines along with Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen and Botswana.
Comment by Riaz Haq on March 20, 2017 at 10:48am

World Happiness 2017 ranks Pakistan well ahead of the rest of SAARC nations. Nepal's at 99, Bhutan at 97, Bangladesh at 110, Sri Lanka at 120, India at 122 and Afghanistan at 141 among 155 nations surveyed. 


Norway moved from No. 4 to the top spot in the report’s rankings, which combine economic, health and polling data compiled by economists that are averaged over three years from 2014 to 2016. Norway edged past previous champ Denmark, which fell to second. Iceland, Switzerland and Finland round out the top 5.

Studying happiness may seem frivolous, but serious academics have long been calling for more testing about people’s emotional well-being, especially in the United States. In 2013, the National Academy of Sciences issued a report recommending that federal statistics and surveys, which normally deal with income, spending, health and housing, include a few extra questions on happiness because it would lead to better policy that affects people’s lives.

The entire top ten were wealthier developed nations. Yet money is not the only ingredient in the recipe for happiness, the report said.

In fact, among the wealthier countries the differences in happiness levels had a lot to do with “differences in mental health, physical health and personal relationships: the biggest single source of misery is mental illness,” the report said.

“Income differences matter more in poorer countries, but even their mental illness is a major source of misery,” it added.

Another major country, China, has made major economic strides in recent years. But its people are not happier than 25 years ago, it found.

The United States meanwhile slipped to the number 14 spot due to less social support and greater corruption; those very factors play into why Nordic countries fare better on this scale of smiles.

“What works in the Nordic countries is a sense of community and understanding in the common good,” said Meik Wiking, chief executive officer of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, who wasn’t part of the global scientific study that came out with the rankings.

The rankings are based on gross domestic product per person, healthy life expectancy with four factors from global surveys. In those surveys, people give scores from 1 to 10 on how much social support they feel they have if something goes wrong, their freedom to make their own life choices, their sense of how corrupt their society is and how generous they are.



Comment by Riaz Haq on December 22, 2022 at 7:37am

The situation for India’s more than 260 million agricultural workers is dire. Nearly 30 people in the farming sector die by suicide daily, according to the most recent figures available, typically due to overwhelming debt. Indeed in 2020, more than 10,000 people in the agricultural sector ended their own lives, according to government data.


India’s economic backbone – its farmers and their families – is in collapse. They face crushing pressures: insurmountable debtenvironmental degradation, and extreme rates of cancer linked to exposure to pesticides.

Comment by Riaz Haq on March 20, 2023 at 6:11pm

The World Happiness Report 2023 has been published by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network.


According to the report, Pakistan is at number 103 on the happiness index, climbing 18 spots as compared to the previous list in which the South Asian nation was ranked at 121.

Meanwhile, neighbouring India ranked lowest in Asia as Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka ranked above the second most populated nation.

Some of the parameters used for assessment include the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita in terms of Purchasing Power Parity, generosity, people’s perception of corruption and freedom, social support, health and life expectancy at birth.

Report finds that stressful jobs, sheer competition, family issues, health complications, inflation and several other factors cost us our happiness.


Top Happiest Nations in the world
New Zealand
United States
Czech Republic
United Kingdom


You need to be a member of PakAlumni Worldwide: The Global Social Network to add comments!

Join PakAlumni Worldwide: The Global Social Network

Pre-Paid Legal

Twitter Feed

    follow me on Twitter

    Sponsored Links

    South Asia Investor Review
    Investor Information Blog

    Haq's Musings
    Riaz Haq's Current Affairs Blog

    Please Bookmark This Page!

    Blog Posts

    G20 Kashmir Meeting: Modi's PR Ploy Backfires!

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi's campaign to show normalcy in the Indian occupied territory of Jammu and Kashmir has backfired.  Three member countries of the G20 boycotted the tourism event in Srinagar. The rest of them sent local embassy staff to attend. The event also drew negative worldwide media coverage of the brutality of India's "settler colonialism" in the disputed territory. It elicited strong condemnation from the United Nations. Prior to the event, India’s tourism secretary, Arvind…


    Posted by Riaz Haq on May 24, 2023 at 11:30am — 3 Comments

    India-Russia Trade: Is Indian Rupee Worthless For Cross-Border Transactions?

    What good is a currency in global trade if it can not be used to buy products and services from other nations that a country needs?  The answer to this question came when Russia said it has accumulated billions of rupees in Indian banks which it can not use. “This is a problem”,  Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters in India’s Western state of Goa on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting.  “We need to use this money. But for this, these rupees must…


    Posted by Riaz Haq on May 17, 2023 at 1:00pm — 4 Comments

    © 2023   Created by Riaz Haq.   Powered by

    Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service