South Africans Are Miserable. SA Ranked 105th Happiest Country In The World.

The UN based their rankings on GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, social freedom, generosity and absence of corruption.


Kelleigh Korevaar |

The United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) has released their 6th annual World Happiness Report, ranking South Africa a pretty dismal 105 out of 156 countries. That’s four places down from last year.

Scandinavian countries are the happiest in the world with Finland claiming the top spot, followed by Norway and then Denmark. African nations Burundi, Central African Republic and South Sudan claim the bottom spots.

South Africa did not even top the list of African countries. Mauritius ranked way above us in 55th position, as did Libya (70th), Morocco (85th), Somalia (98st) and Gabon (103rd).

The UN’s rankings were based on factors such as GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, social freedom, generosity and absence of corruption.

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It won’t surprise anybody who reads the news that South Africa didn’t score high on the factor of absence of corruption. But, according to Transparency International’s 2017 annual review, South Africa ranks 71 out of 180 countries, with 109 countries having an even worse corruption problem than ours.

One of the biggest factors affecting happiness of South Africans according to this report is life expectancy. South Africa has the lowest life expectancy in the world according to a 2015 report commissioned by the National Institute on Aging (NIA). HIV/Aids is the key factor in the low life expectancy as South Africa has the world’s largest HIV epidemic with 5.6 million people living with the virus, says Unicef.

Related: Did You Know There’s A Morning-After Pill For HIV?

As morbid as these statistics are, according to the study “An Aging World: 2015” things are changing and by 2050 the life expectancy should climb from 49.7 to 63.2 years.

Other factors that were taken into account include GDP per capita and social freedom. According to the CIA, South Africa is ranked 115 out of 228 in terms of GDP per capita. The Human Freedom Index which uses 79 indicators or personal and economic freedom to rank countries’ freedom places South Africa as 68th out of 159 countries.

Related: 15 Instant Ways to Make Yourself Happier

Although South Africa has ranked pretty poorly in terms of happiness, the factors the UN used to rank countries certainly weren’t in our favour. If it were based on banter around the braai or finding humour in serious situations, South Africa would most definitely be first. Check these South Africans who managed to find the funny in adverse situations and leave everyone smiling:

South Africans on their pride:

South Africans on Listeriosis:

South Africans on the water crisis in Cape Town:



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