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Tracking the World's Happiness

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Sustainable Development Solutions Network
A Global Initiative for the United Nations

Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) is a global initiative for the United Nations that engages scientists, engineers, business and civil society leaders, and development practitioners for evidence-based problem solving. It promotes solutions initiatives that demonstrate the potential of technical and business innovation to support sustainable development.

Sustainable Development Solutions Network

Since 2012, Gallup's World Poll has been a primary source of global data behind the life satisfaction rankings released in the highly publicized World Happiness Report.

So far, SDSN has published seven reports.

The recently released 2019 report discusses happiness and communities, how happiness has changed over a dozen years and how information technology, governance and social norms influence communities.

In The Media

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The Mission

Help Global Leaders Track and Lead Progress in Their Nations

The most famous statistics -- GDP, household income and unemployment -- focus on the rational side of what people do: what they spend, how much they make and whether they have a job. Traditional metrics like these do not tell us anything about people's happiness.

Leaders can no longer assume that the lives of those in their countries improve with a rise in GDP, as was shown in the Arab Uprising countries where GDP was increasing but the ratings of their lives trended downward ahead of the unrest.

Leaders need to follow much more traditional metrics to effectively track and lead the progress of their nation. The World Happiness Report is the first report to rank countries by how their populations feel.

Why Measuring Global Happiness Matters

Our Approach

Provide Data That Change Lives

More and more world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and others, now talk about how important wellbeing is as a guide for their nations. In 2018 for example, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced plans to include the wellbeing of New Zealanders as a measure of her country's economic success.

Gallup has often consulted on the report, co-authoring chapters in a number of years, including the 2018 report, in which Gallup consultants lent their expertise to exploring the happiness of migrants worldwide.

"Happiness can change, and does change, according to the quality of the society in which people live."
-John F. Helliwell is one of the chief editors on the World Happiness Report. Helliwell is a senior fellow at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia.
THE SUCCESS

Transforming the World Through Happiness

Since its launch in 2012, the World Happiness Report has continually garnered worldwide media attention. The findings demonstrate that wellbeing and happiness are critical indicators of a nation's economic and social development.

In 2014, the International Society for Quality of Life Studies awarded the World Happiness Report, the award for the Betterment of the Human Condition. Gallup itself earned this award in 2017.

Many media outlets have featured the report, including NPR, The Guardian, New York Times, The Washington Post, Huffington Post, U.S. News and World Report, Newsday, Men's Health and Smithsonian.

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