For the sixth consecutive year, Finland has been named the happiest country in the world in the annual World Happiness Report, which assesses global happiness across more than 150 countries. The report is produced by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network and is published each year to mark the International Day of Happiness on March 20th. The rankings are determined using data from sources such as the Gallup World Poll, which considers six key factors: social support, income, health, freedom, generosity, and absence of corruption.
The 2023 list is similar to previous rankings in 2022, 2021, 2020, and 2019, with several Nordic countries once again occupying the top positions. Denmark follows Finland at number two, with Iceland in third place. According to the report's authors, the Nordic countries are deserving of particular attention due to their high levels of personal and institutional trust. Additionally, during 2020 and 2021, they had COVID-19 death rates that were only one-third as high as those in other parts of Western Europe - 27 per 100,000 in the Nordic countries versus 80 in the rest of Western Europe.
According to the authors of the report, Finland is the clear winner in the World Happiness Report, taking the top spot for the sixth consecutive year with a score significantly higher than that of all other countries. Aalto University experts suggest that Finland's welfare system is a major contributing factor to the country's happiness, with features such as relatively generous unemployment benefits and almost free healthcare helping to reduce sources of dissatisfaction and unhappiness.
Finland's urban planning also plays a crucial role in promoting health and safety, as a person's environment is a key factor in their happiness. Aalto University professor Marketta Kyttä emphasizes that health promotion in cities is closely linked to social sustainability and community connectivity.
In this year's report, Israel has risen five places to overtake Switzerland for fourth place (Switzerland is ranked eighth this year). The Netherlands retains its fifth position, while Sweden and Norway have both moved up one place to sixth and seventh, respectively. Canada has risen two places to 13th, and the United States has climbed one place to 15th. Belgium has also risen two places to 17th. Lithuania has entered the top 20 for the first time, rising more than 30 places since 2017.
Luxembourg has fallen three places to ninth, while Ireland has dropped one spot to 14th, Germany is down two spots to 16th, and the United Kingdom has fallen two spots to 19th. Meanwhile, France has fallen out of the top 20.
In addition to ranking the happiest countries in the world, the report also identifies the unhappiest places. The countries at the bottom of the list are those affected by war, such as Afghanistan and Lebanon, where the average life evaluation is more than five points lower (on a scale of 0 to 10) than in the top 10 happiest countries. Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, and Congo round out the bottom five.
Apart from country rankings, the report examines the global situation in 2023. According to Lara Aknin, one of the report's co-authors, the findings are encouraging. "This year's report provides many fascinating insights," Aknin stated in a press release. "But one that particularly stands out to me is the concept of pro-sociality. For the second year in a row, we see that various acts of everyday kindness, such as assisting a stranger, making a donation to charity, and volunteering, are higher than pre-pandemic levels."
Below are the top 20 happiest countries in the world and the 20 unhappiest countries, as per the report.
World’s 20 Happiest Countries in 202
- New Zealand
- United States
- Czech Republic
- United Kingdom
World’s 20 Unhappiest Countries in 2023
- Sierra Leone