As worldwide migration numbers hit record highs, it seems the new arrivals have the potential to lift a country’s overall happiness.
The 2018 United Nations World Happiness Report has found a link between a country’s subjective wellbeing and the proportion of their population born overseas.
The top 10 countries in the global happiness rankings have an average foreign-born population of 17.2 per cent, around double the global figure.
Australia has one of the highest migrant populations of any country worldwide, cracking 28 per cent.
Multicultural Communities Council of Illawarra Corporate Services Manager Sarah Wilson said migrant communities bring many benefits to a society that increases its general happiness.
“The different cultures obviously enhance the whole community,” Ms Wilson said.
“The food that they bring, the music…their experiences – any diverse society is automatically beneficial to the whole community.”
As for migrants, the report indicated the average migrant experiences a nine per cent increase in their happiness outcome after arriving in their new country.
But it also confirmed that refugees are less satisfied with their lives in adopted countries than migrants overall.
“Refugees are significantly less happy than all specific subgroups of voluntary migrants,” the report found.
Ms Wilson said the vast majority does not regret the decision to move, despite the difficulties many migrants face when they arrive in Australia,
“Obviously there are some hardships; people who are newly arrived might not speak English and might have been separated from their families,” Ms Wilson said.
“However they often take full advantage of the opportunities and the way of life that Australia has.”
The Nordic countries again dominated the top 10 places on the global happiness rankings, as Finland pushed neighbouring Norway out of the number one spot.
African nations make up many of the least happy countries, with Burundi rounding out the rankings.