At a time like this—when the coronavirus pandemic is sweeping the globe and has killed over 10,000 people—we need some happy news.
For the third year in a row, Finland has placed at the top of the list as the happiest country in the world, with Denmark coming in second, followed by Switzerland, which pushed Norway out of the top three this year.
Since its launch in 2012, just four countries have taken the top spot: Denmark in 2012, 2013 and 2016, Switzerland in 2015, Norway in 2017, and Finland in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
The results are based on an average of three years of surveys between 2017 and 2019, meaning there’s overlap in the data from previous years, and include factors such as gross domestic product, social support from friends and family, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity, perceived corruption and recent emotions — both happy and sad.
“The World Happiness Report has proven to be an indispensable tool for policymakers looking to better understand what makes people happy and thereby to promote the wellbeing of their citizenry,” said Jeffrey Sachs, one of the report’s editors.
“Time and again we see the reasons for wellbeing include good social support networks, social trust, honest governments, safe environments and healthy lives.”
The least happy of the 186 cities ranked were Kabul, Afghanistan; Sanaa, Yemen; Gaza, Palestine; Port-au-Prince, Haiti; and Juba, South Sudan.
World’s 20 Happiest Countries
8. New Zealand
13. United Kingdom
15. Costa Rica
18. United States
19. Czech Republic