The 2017 World Happiness Report published by the United Nations gave Belizeans a lot to smile about. Although Belize was only ranked 50th on the list out of 155 countries, this is considered a positive achievement locally in the face of a sluggish economy.
The World Happiness Report broke down measurable happiness into six categories, GDP per capita, social support, healthy life, generosity, perceptions of corruption, and freedom to make choices. Belize gained its strongest scores in the categories of social support and GDP per capita. Unfortunately, Belize lost points in the categories of perception of corruption and healthy life.
Many Belizeans responded by reinforcing their belief that they are very happy in their country, remarking on their gratefulness to live in a free country that has ample natural resources. Belizeans are renowned for maintaining a positive outlook on life even in the face of social and governmental challenges. Reinforcing this idea, John Helliwell, a lead author of the report and an economist at the University of British Columbia, stated that happiness and “human things” matter more to people than monetary gain that comes at the price of losing trust in relationships with other people.
Norway was the clear winner in the 2017 World Happiness Report alongside neighboring Scandinavian countries such as Iceland and Finland. The United States, a country with close ties to Belize, was ranked 14th on the list. Although Belize came in 50th on this year’s UN World Happiness Report, it was ranked the fifth happiest place in the 2014 Happy Planet Index published by the MoveHub company.
The United Nations’ World Happiness Report was first published in 2012 and is designed to provide a tool for the private sector, civil societies, and governments to help focus on improving the wellbeing of citizens, according to Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network division of the UN that published the report.
Some of the happiest people in Belize are the guests of the Chabil Mar resort on the Placencia Peninsula. Located just steps from the Caribbean, Chabil Mar is an award-winning resort featuring luxury accommodations set amidst a lush tropical garden. Known for its world-class customer service, guests of the resort can also improve their happiness from the onsite pool, fresh cocktails made to order at the bar, and delicious gourmet meals that can be enjoyed al fresco on the resort’s seafront pier.