Travelers please note – Finland picked again as world’s happiest country


No wonder tourists always flocked to Finland. The country has once again been crowned as the world’s happiest country, with Denmark and Switzerland in second and third sports respectively, according to a United Nations-affiliated research network.

Finnish contentment stems from high levels of trust, which also underpins solid rankings across the rest of the Nordic region, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network said in the World Happiness Report released on Friday.

Reliable and extensive welfare benefits, low corruption, and well-functioning democracy and state institutions are also key, as are a high sense of autonomy and freedom reported by their citizens.

As in the previous seven reports, the Nordic countries top the rankings, with Iceland, Norway and Sweden in 4th, 5th and 7th place respectively. They are joined in the top 10 by the Netherlands, 6th, New Zealand, 8th and Austria, 10th. France has moved up one place, from 24th in 2019 to 23rd.

The happiest countries are those “where people feel a sense of belonging, where they trust and enjoy each another,” report co-author John Helliwell is quoted as saying in a press release. “Shared trust reduces the burden of hardships and thereby lessens the inequality of well-being.”

“The World Happiness Report has proven to be an indispensable tool for policymakers looking to better understand what makes people happy,” said Jeffrey Sachs, director of the network.

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.

Afghanistan ranked lowest among 153 countries, with South Sudan and Zimbabwe just above it. The ranking saw the U.S. rise one place, to 18th.

The methodology used for the report entailed asking a sampling of persons from 156 countries to answer a series of questions on their perception of their quality of life on a scale of 0 to 10. Measurements taken into account include GDP, social support, individual freedom and corruption levels.

Finland’s ranking may come as a surprise outside the nation of 5.5 million inhabitants that still has the image of a country of dark, severe winters and taciturn people prone to suicide. However, its population enjoys an exceptional quality of life coupled with a high safety level, and public services that are among the best in the world. Moreover, its level of inequality is one of the lowest in the world.