In the region, Mexico is below countries such as the United States, Uruguay, Chile and Brazil, the latter the current epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic
In the last three years, from 2017 to 2020, Mexico went from place 23 to 46 in the happiness index of the population, according to the World Happiness Report 2021.
According to the document focused on the effects that the Covid-19 pandemic had on the mood of the people, Mexico was placed in 2020 just one place above Argentina, a nation that fell two places with respect to its average of happiness between 2017 and 2019.
Meanwhile, within the region, the Mexican population is less happy than the United States, Uruguay, Chile, and Brazil, the latter the current epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the case of Mexico, happiness decreased during the last year of the government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who in May 2020 announced that his administration was working on a new index to measure the well-being of the population and which he intended to complement the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), as the academic Carlos Elizondo recalled through his social networks.
“Remember when AMLO said it was better to use happiness as an indicator of well-being than GDP? Well, Mexico went from 23rd place in happiness in the world in the last three years to 46th place last year,” he wrote.
The measurement, said the president in his morning conference at the National Palace, would include happiness as a parameter, something similar to what some countries in Europe do.
In his press conference, he indicated that he would develop this new index because, in the return to the new normal after the emergency situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, it cannot continue to be measured in the same way that it has been done.
“I am now working on an index to measure well-being, an alternative index to the so-called Gross Domestic Product; I am going to present it, a new parameter, which will measure, yes growth, but also well-being, also degrees of social inequality, it will be accepted if there is growth and there is less inequality, and another ingredient in this new parameter, in this new paradigm, the happiness of the people.
“The technocrats will not like it, but you see if they don’t like it, it’s good for us. There are countries where the level of happiness is measured and that is part of well-being,” he explained at the time.
In August of that same year, President Lopéz Obrador pointed out that his new measurement had already made progress and revealed that the team in charge of collecting the data would be under the supervision of the Secretary of Welfare, María Luisa Albores.
“Progress is being made, they are working. There is a team, to see if they are invited one day and to explain what is being done. They are going to carry out a questionnaire, a survey with the people to measure the level of satisfaction of the people, of the happiness of the people, to measure the economic situation, of well-being ”, he indicated.
For their part, the authors of the study, sponsored by the United Nations and published since 2012, use polls by the Gallup company that question the interviewees about their perception of happiness and cross these data with GDP figures, data on individual freedom, corruption, and others to reach a result.
Comparing this list with others before the pandemic, the study authors found that there has been “a significantly higher frequency of negative emotions” in a third of countries.
“One possible explanation is that people see Covid-19 as a common and external threat that hurts everyone and that has generated a greater sense of solidarity and empathy,” said the expert.