Insight & Analysis

Finland named world’s happiest country for fifth year running

Published: Apr 2022

Finland has been named the world’s happiest country for the fifth year running, in the annual UN-sponsored index.

Helsinki Cityscape Cathedral

Finland has been named the world’s happiest country for the fifth year running, in the annual UN-sponsored index. Experts say social support, honesty, and generosity are key to wellbeing. The country of vast forests and lakes is also known for its well-functioning public services, ubiquitous saunas, widespread trust in authority and low levels of crime and inequality.

Business owner Jukka Viitasaari said he was not surprised that Finns describe themselves as happy. “Many things are undeniably good here – beautiful nature, we’re well governed, lots of things are in order.”

The report has been running for ten years, using global survey data on people’s personal happiness assessments, as well as economic and social data from over 150 countries worldwide. Alongside personal data the report considers GDP, social support, personal freedom and levels of corruption. Scores are given on a scale of zero to ten, based on three-years’ worth of data.

“The World Happiness Report 2022 reveals a bright light in dark times … As we battle the ills of disease and war, it is essential to remember the universal desire for happiness and the capacity of individuals to rally to each other’s support in times of great need,” states the report.

Nordic nations once again dominated the top spots — with Denmark in second place and Iceland in third.

Top ten happiest countries in the world

  1. Finland

  2. Denmark

  3. Iceland

  4. Switzerland

  5. Netherlands

  6. Luxembourg

  7. Sweden

  8. Norway

  9. Israel

  10. New Zealand

The latest list was completed before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia recorded the biggest boosts in wellbeing. The largest falls in the world happiness table, came in Lebanon, Venezuela and Afghanistan. The US rose three places to 16th, one ahead of Britain. France climbed to 20th, its highest ranking yet.

This year the authors also used data from social media to compare people’s emotions before and after the COVID-19 pandemic. They found “strong increases in anxiety and sadness” in 18 countries but a fall in feelings of anger.

“The lesson of the world happiness report over the years is that social support, generosity to one another and honesty in government are crucial for wellbeing,” report co-author Jeffrey Sachs wrote. “World leaders should take heed.”

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