Finland is the happiest nation on earth, according to the World Happiness Report 2019. In a top ten list dominated by Nordic countries, Finland is followed by Denmark and Norway, while New Zealand and Canada are the only countries outside of Europe.
The World Happiness Report, prepared by a group of independent experts, is published annually by the United Nations. The scores for the 156 countries included in the index are based on an analysis of the past three years’ data and surveys, including the Gallup World Poll.
Six key variables are used to determine the score: per capita income (income per person), healthy life expectancy, perceived freedom, perceived corruption, social support, and generosity. Citizens’ perceptions about their country and quality of life, therefore, play an important part in determining these rankings.
Ten Happiest Nations
The happiest countries all tend to have advanced, though not exceptionally large, economies. Many of these are extensive welfare states, with low crime rates, and a high degree of freedom. The top ten are ranked as follows.
- New Zealand
United States dropped one place to 19 this year, while United Kingdom rose four places to 15. Australia (11), Germany (17), Mexico (23), France (24), and Saudi Arabia (28) are among the top 30, while Russia (68), China (93), and India (140) are ranked much lower. The five least happy countries are South Sudan, Central African Republic, Afghanistan, Tanzania, and Rwanda.
The report divides the world into nine groups based on region or economic alliance. The happiest nation in each designated group, along with its overall rank, is as follows.
- OECD: Finland (1)
- Europe (Non-OECD): Malta (22)
- Latin America and the Caribbean: Costa Rica (12)
- Commonwealth of Independent States: Uzbekistan (41)
- East Asia (Non-OECD): Taiwan (25)
- Southeast Asia: Singapore (34)
- South Asia: Pakistan (67)
- Middle East and North Africa: United Arab Emirates (21)
- Sub-Saharan Africa: Mauritius (57)
The report points to a fall in overall world happiness in the past few years. There has been an increase in “negative emotions” that include worry, anger, and sadness, as revealed in the Gallup survey. Other contributors to the fall in happiness include the fast-growing world population, the rise of populist political movements in many countries, and the growing unhappiness in India, home to nearly 1.4 billion people, which lost seven places from last year, largely due to a big drop in social support.
The idea of measuring happiness was first adopted by a UN General Assembly resolution in 2011, with the Prime Minister of Bhutan playing a significant role in is development. Happiness indicators have since gained popularity as an alternative to per capita income figures that convey only one aspect of human well-being.
You can download the World Happiness Report 2019 here.
Categories: Global Rankings