Report 2015: Bhutanese are not the happiest people on earth, and this is a truth that escapes many of us, said Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay.

The prime minister said that Bhutan being ranked at 79 among 158 countries in the World Happiness Report 2015 should not really be a concern. How we are ranked will ultimately be based on  the measurement, what is measured and how it is measured.

“In some areas, we may be the happiest people, but in some areas we can’t be, especially in this Asia globalisation, international communications and social media,” the prime minister said.

The country has its own challenges, like economy, unemployment, democracy and high expectations that come with democracy, and these are the areas that will challenge happiness, said the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister said that the Centre for Bhutan Studies (CBS) is the focal point for Gross National Happiness study in Bhutan. CBS will consider the report and how they measured seriously, but most important is CBS’s own survey because this could give baseline on earlier surveys and see where we are going. “Then we can develop insight into government policy, whether it is working or not.”

CBS would have no conclusion on Bhutan rank in the report. It will study the report and the findings, and maybe then CBS will be able to say why Bhutan is ranked 79th, two places above Pakistan, said the Prime Minister.

The 158 countries were ranked based on six variables, including GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy, social support, and freedom to make life choices, generosity and the absence of corruption.

The World Happiness Report 2015 was compiled by a group of researchers drawing on Gallup World Poll data from the past five years.

The first World Happiness Report was published in support of the April 2, 2012 United Nations high level meeting on happiness and wellbeing.  That meeting followed the July 2011 resolution of the UN General Assembly, inviting member countries to measure the happiness of their people, and to use this to help guide their public policies

The UN, in releasing the study, urged heads of state to find a way to put happiness on the global agenda, an idea first proposed in 1972 by the Fourth Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network sponsored the report.

By Dechen Tshomo