Finland was ranked as the happiest country in the world for a sixth consecutive year, while Taliban-ruled Afghanistan ranked as the least happy country, according to metrics released Monday.
Scandinavian countries dominated the World Happiness Report’s rankings, with Denmark (2nd), Iceland (3rd), Sweden (6th) and Norway (7th) in the top 10.
European countries such as the Netherlands (5th), Switzerland (8th) and Luxembourg (9th) were well-represented.
Israel (4th) and New Zealand (10th) rounded out the top 10.
The United States ranked 15th and Canada 13th.
The rankings were released on the 10th annual World Happiness Day — March 20. The report assesses six key factors: social support, income, health, freedom, generosity and absence of corruption. Individual scores for each factor are collected into the “life evaluation” metric that dictates the rankings.
The report gets much of its data on happiness from the Gallup World Poll.
“Average happiness and our country rankings, for emotions as well as life evaluations, have been remarkably stable during the three COVID-19 years,” John Helliwell, a report author and professor at the University of British Columbia, said in a press release.
“Changes in rankings that have taken place have been continuations of longer-term trends, such as the increases seen in the rankings of the three Baltic countries,” Mr. Helliwell said. “Even during these difficult years, positive emotions have remained twice as prevalent as negative ones, and feelings of positive social support are twice as strong as those of loneliness.”
The report’s authors note that the happiness gap between wealthy and less wealthy people is small in countries that are largely unhappy. The same is true for predominantly happy countries. The only place where that trend has started to diverge is in some African countries.
Afghanistan and Lebanon remain the two unhappiest countries in the rankings for the second year in a row. Both countries’ life evaluation scores were 5 points lower than the countries at the top of the list.
• Brad Matthews can be reached at email@example.com.
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