With the world in a state of upheaval, we could use some happy news. The United Nations has released its 10th annual World Happiness Report—just days ahead of the annual International Day of Happiness on March 20.
For the fifth year in a row, Finland has been named the happiest country in the world, with Denmark coming in second, followed by Iceland, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
The World Happiness Report—which ranks global happiness in more than 150 countries around the world—is released every year by the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network. The statisticians base the ranking on data from the Gallup World Poll and several other factors, including levels of GDP, life expectancy and more.
With the world entering the third year of the pandemic, the report has three areas of focus in 2022: looking back; looking at how people and countries are doing in the face of Covid-19; and looking ahead to how the science of well-being is likely to evolve in the future.
Happiness in troubled times
Average life evaluations “have remained remarkably resilient” during the pandemic, with negative and positive influences offsetting each other, the report says.
“For the young, life satisfaction has fallen, while for those over 60, it has risen — with little overall change,” according to the report.
“But in general, people are too pessimistic about the goodwill in the societies they live in, so then when the actual disaster happens and they see other people responding positively to help others, it raises their opinion both of themselves and of their fellow citizens,” said John Helliwell, one of the report’s three founding editors.
Besides the happiest countries in the world, the report also looked at the places where people are the saddest. Afghanistan ranked as the unhappiest countries in the world, with Lebanon, Zimbabwe, Rwanda and Botswana rounding out the bottom five.
World’s 20 Happiest Countries
- New Zealand
- United States
- United Kingdom
- Czech Republic