Who’s at the top of the list? Finland, for the second year in a row. All the Nordic countries fare exceedingly well: Denmark, Norway, and Iceland also appear in the top five, and Sweden sits in seventh place.

The report ranks countries on six key variables that support well-being: income, freedom, trust, healthy life expectancy, social support and generosity.

The Czech Republic ranked 20th of 158 countries. The Czech Republic was best in the CEE region and led the Visegrad Four nations, with Slovakia at 38th, Poland at 40th and Hungary at 62nd. But neighboring Austria and Germany did better, at 10th and 17th place, respectively.

“The top 10 countries tend to rank high in all six variables, as well as emotional measures of well-being,” says report co-editor John Helliwell, a professor emeritus of economics at the University of British Columbia. 

And that’s not just about the native-born residents of those countries.

“It’s true that last year all Finns were happier than rest of the countries’ residents, but their immigrants were also happiest immigrants in the world,” says Helliwell. “It’s not about Finnish DNA. It’s the way life is lived in those countries.”

They pay high taxes for a social safety net, they trust their government, they live in freedom and they are generous with each other. “They do care about each other,” he says. “That’s the kind of place people want to live.”

Differences among the top eight countries are small enough that jostling among the top five is expected every year.

The world’s 10 happiest countries

  1. Finland
  2. Denmark
  3. Norway
  4. Iceland
  5. Netherlands
  6. Switzerland
  7. Sweden
  8. New Zealand
  9. Canada
  10. Austria

World’s least happy countries

  1. South Sudan
  2. Central African Republic
  3. Afghanistan
  4. Tanzania
  5. Rwanda
  6. Yemen
  7. Malawi
  8. Syria
  9. Botswana
  10. Haiti

Source: The World Happiness Report 2019

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