The report, now in its 10th year, is produced each spring by the UN’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network, based on data from the Gallup World Poll.
The Nordic nations dominated the top spots on the index, with Denmark and Iceland following Finland as second and third happiest countries respectively, with Sweden and Norway taking the seventh and eighth spots.
The team behind the report “uses global survey data to report on how people evaluate their own lives in more than 150 countries around the world”, asking locals to rank their experience in the country, as well as looking at each nation’s GDP, life expectancy, generosity, social support, freedom and corruption levels.
Low crime rates, an abundance of natural beauty, an emphasis on community and co-operation, universal health care, and few people living in poverty are all thought to contribute to the Finnish nation’s happiness.
The UK was ranked 17th in the 2022 report, with the US at number 16 and Canada at number 15.
The editor of the 2022 report found that philanthropy and random acts of kindness featured strongly in the findings.
“Helping strangers, volunteering and donations in 2021 were strongly up in every part of the world, reaching levels almost 25 per cent above their pre-pandemic prevalence,” said John Helliwell, editor and economics professor at the University of British Columbia.
The team behind the report emphasised that the studies had been conducted well before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Nevertheless, Russia and Ukraine were both ranked low in the happiest nations top 100, with Russia at number 80 and Ukraine at number 98.
Afghanistan fell at the bottom of the list, at number 146 - “a stark reminder of the material and immaterial damage that war does to its many victims,” said Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, one of the report’s editors, in a press release.
The top 20 happiest countries in the world
- The Netherlands
- New Zealand
- United States
- United Kingdom
- Czechia (Czech Republic)
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