2023 Middle East happiness rankings: UAE, Israel happiest as Lebanon hits bottom


Lebanon is the least happy nation in the Middle East region, followed by Israel and the Gulf nations, while Turkey continues to decline in happiness rankings according to a new edition of the World Happiness Report released this week.

The UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network 2023 Report ranks 137 countries based on various criteria including income, health and sense of freedom to make key life decisions. The Middle East and North Africa is the least satisfied region after sub-Saharan Africa, the report shows, but a comparison of the 2022 and 2023 rankings shows that some countries including Israel, Iraq and Iran have become happier in the past year.

Israel, still the happiest nation in the region, climbed to the fourth happiest country in the world from ninth place.

Although the Gulf nations, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and regional power Saudi Arabia are the second happiest group of countries in the wider Middle East and North Africa region, all three have fallen short over the past year, the ratings showed.

The United Arab Emirates, the second happiest nation in the MENA region, fell two places from 24th to 26th globally. Saudi Arabia, the third happiest nation, fell five places, landing in 30th place in the global rankings.

In the Gulf group, Bahrain registered the biggest decline falling to 42nd from 21st worldwide, but the nation is the fourth happiest nation in the region.

The Gulf nations are followed by Algeria, Iraq and Morocco in the global rankings. Algeria appears to be happier compared to the 2022 rankings by climbing to 81st place from 96. Iraq also saw a significant jump, climbing to 98th in 2023 from 107th in 2022.

Iran, which has been mired in anti-regime protests across the country, has also become happier over the past year, rising from 110th to 101st from the previous period.

Tunisia also seems to be happier than the previous period, as its ranking has risen to 110 from 120.

Meanwhile, Turkey slipped six places in the 2023 report, falling from the 106th to the 112th happiest nation in the world.

Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon are the least happy nations in the Middle East and North Africa region. However, Egypt and Jordan appear to be more content increasing their ranks by eight and 11, respectively, from the previous period.

Meanwhile, Lebanon is the least happy nation, along with Afghanistan, in the world.

The following are the happiness rankings from the countries of the Middle East and North Africa from the highest to the lowest with their global placements:

Israel: 4i

UAE: 26th

Saudi Arabia: 30th

Bahrain: 42nd

Algeria: 81st

Iraq: 98th

Morocco: 100th

Iran: 101st

Turkey: 106

Tunisia: 110th

Egypt: 121st

Jordan: 123

Lebanon: 136th

Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Yemen, Syria and the Palestinian territories were not ranked in the 2023 report.

On the global scale, the Nordic nations dominated the top three spots, with Finland, Denmark and Iceland the happiest nations in the world.

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