Register for our free newsletter

Latest News

The UAE isn’t a happy place

The UAE isn’t a happy place

UAE residents are not happy. The Emirates ranks 123rd out of 143 countries worldwide on nef’s Happy Planet Index 2.0. Saudi Arabia ranks13th.

July 6, 2009 1:10 by

Costa Rica is the world’s happiest place, followed by the Dominican Republic and Jamaica, according to a report by nef (the new economics foundation), an UK-based independent think tank and research group.

The organization’s Happy Planet Index 2.0 (HPI) scores 143 nations based on “what truly matters to us – our well-being in terms of long, happy and meaningful lives – and what matters to the planet – our rate of resource consumption.”

The UAE and Kuwait rank 123rd and 128th respectively, the two lowest placed Arab countries. Meanwhile, Egypt and Saudi Arabia topped the list at 12th and 13th respectively. Other Arab countries featured in the index are Palestine (56) and Syria (38).

As for rich and developed nations, the highest ranked Western nation is the Netherlands (43), followed by Germany (51), Switzerland (52) and Sweden (53).  The UK ranks 74th and the United States lags behind at 114th place.

The survey shows that economic growth does not translate into improved HPI rankings; “If anything, there is actually a negative correlation between GDP growth and change in HPI scores,” says the report.

The organization determines happiness based on ‘life satisfaction’. It asks respondents:  “All things considered, how satisfied are you with your life as a whole these days?”

Nef explains they have received meaningful answers; respondents  based on respondents’ “size and strength of their social networks, relationship status, level of education, presence of disability, as well as with their material conditions, such as income and employment.”

According to nef, 99 percent of the world’s population is represented in its index.

Tags: , , , , , ,


  1. M Jacob on July 6, 2009 3:23 pm

    When including the UAE (and countries like Kuwait) in such surveys, it is important to note that the majority are lower-income expats, there to save money and return home as soon as possible. Unlike almost all other countries. Unhappiness gets compounded due the recession.

  2. Sudhir I on July 7, 2009 9:10 am

    Hi Jacob. What you’ve pointed out is definitely true. But is that any reason to exclude them from the Index? I don’t think so. The bottomline remains that they are part of the population in both UAE and Kuwait. As far as the majority belonging to the lower-income group, the HPI itself talks about “a negative correlation between GDP growth and change in HPI scores”

  3. The B on July 7, 2009 10:47 am

    What a joke!! Not that Im happy with the UAE or Dubai at the moment but still…The UAE is at 123 and Palestine at 56?????? LOL!!! So the people in Palestine are happy!?!?! Well…then thats a wrap!! The Middle East has found peace….call in the reporters!! LOL!! You guys should start a “Hilarious Surveys & Quotes” section and put this survey in there along with Paris Hilton’s claim that she can be a good role model!! I havent laughed this hard in a long time…sniff….thanks Kipp :) :)

  4. Hippo Crit on July 7, 2009 11:24 am

    in dubai we got used to the catchy lines….
    UAE isnt happy???
    i beg to differ…
    our happy index is low not because we are not happy… its because the planet is not happy with our existence.
    happy index is = happy life years (high in the UAE)/Ecological footprint(very very high)

  5. andy on July 7, 2009 2:23 pm

    some of the expats are here in dubai to make their family back home HAPPIER..:) life is not always about self satisfaction..sometimes self sacrifice means more. But i agree no place like home, thats why philippines is 14th. relax take it easy and be happy for the happy people and stay younger :)

  6. Shehab Ahmed on August 18, 2009 10:43 am

    The B that is a funny comment. For all those who are not happy in UAE you should consider moving to Palestine because apparently they are happier over there lol :)


Leave a Comment