Kenya ranked 119 on World Happiness Index

In Africa Kenya ranks 18th

Villagers of Kogelo doze off as they wait for the results of the American Presidential polls projected on November 5, 2008 at an open field via satellite, where they bore rain and cold hoping to hear that 'their son', Barack Obama, is now elected. (Photo by TONY KARUMBA/AFP via Getty Images)

In the latest World Happiness Report, Kenya has been ranked 119th among 146 nations surveyed, with Finland being crowned top for the fifth year running. The UN-sponsored index has named Afghanistan as the least happy country in the world.

This is a huge drop from last year's ranking where Kenya was placed 86th globally, just a place behind neighbours Uganda.

Mauritius at 49 in the world is the happiest nation in Africa, followed by South Africa (91), Gambia (93) Algeria (96), Liberia (97), Congo (99), Morocco (100), Mozambique (101), and Cameroon (102).

Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania recorded the biggest boosts in wellbeing. The largest falls in the World Happiness table, released on Friday, came in Lebanon, Venezuela and Afghanistan.

"This (index) presents a stark reminder of the material and immaterial damage that war does to its many victims," co-author Jan-Emmanuel De Neve said.

What is the criteria for ranking?

The World Happiness Report is based on people's own assessment of their happiness, as well as economic and social data.

The scoring is based on factors such as healthy life expectancy, GDP per capita, social support in times of trouble, low corruption and high social trust, generosity in a community where people look after each other and freedom to make key life decisions.

As well as a personal sense of wellbeing, based on Gallup polls in each country, the happiness score takes account of GDP, social support, personal freedom and levels of corruption.

"The lesson of the World Happiness Report over the years is that social support, generosity to one another and honesty in government are crucial for wellbeing," report co-author Jeffrey Sachs wrote.

It assigns a happiness score on a scale of zero to 10, based on an average of data over a three-year period. Northern Europeans once again dominated the top spots with the Danes second behind the Finns, followed by the Icelandic, the Swiss and the Dutch.

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