Happiness is a complex, multifaceted emotion and, hence, a difficult thing to measure. However, the United Nations has been attempting to do so for about a decade, in an attempt to assess, understand and thus enhance each country’s well-being.
According to the latest World Happiness Report, a publication of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, benevolence is increasing on a global scale in the following aspects: volunteering, donating to charity and helping a stranger.
Graana.com has compiled the current list of countries that rank at the top in this regard below, along with details on what makes one the world’s happiest countries.
World Happiness Report
The World Happiness Report, which has been published annually since 2012, looks at the relationship between satisfaction and development and encourages policymakers to focus more on the latter.
The study is based on responses from around 1,000 people in each UN member state who rate their quality of life on a scale of 0 to 10. Researchers also gather data related to GDP per capita, life expectancy, social support, trust and corruption, perceived freedom to make life decisions, and generosity.
The World Happiness Report 2023 was recently released, with a particular focus on how governments have supported citizens’ happiness before, during, and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The results show a continuation of previous trends, with Nordic countries being well-represented.
Ranking of the Happiest Countries in the World
The World Happiness Report is a comprehensive survey that gauges the happiness of citizens in different nations. It measures subjective well-being based on three key components: life assessments, positive feelings, and negative feelings.
Finland was named the most content country globally in the 2023 World Happiness Report, receiving a score of 7.82 on a scale of 0 to 10. Denmark and Iceland placed second and third, respectively, among the Nordic countries.
List of Happiest Countries in the World
According to the latest report, the following are the world’s happiest countries.
- The Netherlands
- New Zealand
For the fifth consecutive year, Finland has been ranked as the happiest country in the world. The country is well-known for its strong education system, which is often compared favorably with those of countries like South Korea, Japan, and Singapore.
This success can be attributed to the high esteem in which teachers are held in Finland, as they are required to have a master’s degree plus their education is funded by the state. The country’s pedagogical system also prioritizes experiential learning and equal opportunity over quantitative testing.
As a travel tip, winter swimming is a popular activity in Finland as it boosts endorphins. While it may not be for everyone, this activity is definitely worth trying.
Denmark has maintained its position as the second happiest country in the world. The country excels in various factors that contribute to its ranking on the happiness index, including life expectancy, social support, and generosity.
A study conducted by the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen has identified several key factors that contribute to Denmark’s happiness, including trust in the government, economic security, freedom, civil participation, and work-life balance.
A visit to a traditional Danish seaside inn during the summer is a great way to immerse oneself in the local culture. Spending a few days cycling along the coast, enjoying fresh mussels, house-made sourdough, and views of the Baltic Sea from a shaded hammock can be a worthwhile experience.
Iceland is famous for having a strong sense of community. Tourists can also experience the close-knit culture and the locals’ generosity by sharing a meal with them. Additionally, the country’s unique landscapes also serve as a relaxing getaway.
A vote determines everything in Switzerland, including the number of vacation days for workers and the number of permitted immigrants, causing the country to drop one place this year.
This system of direct democracy gives Swiss citizens a strong sense of involvement in their country’s development. The Swiss have a tight-knit community bound by the belief that every voice counts, which contributes to their overall contentment.
The Netherlands has consistently maintained its happiness level, with a minimal change of less than 0.03% between 2005 and 2021.
Dutch children are the happiest in the world, based on factors such as health, safety, and educational well-being, according to a 2013 UNICEF report. The report also stated that 85% of Dutch children have breakfast with their parents daily, indicating a positive family bond.
Luxembourg is a small country with a population of under 600,000. It offers high salaries, strong social security, and an efficient healthcare system to its citizens.
In addition to financial benefits, the country also has a great work-life balance. It is likely due to the mandatory five weeks of vacation time.
Sweden, which dropped to the 7th position this year, had the highest number of COVID-related deaths among Nordic countries. Despite this, it remains one of the happiest countries in the world.
It is at same place due to its high GDP per capita and emphasis on social equality, work-life balance, and gender equality. These factors are evident in the education system, 16 months of paid family leave, and free daycare.
Sweden is popular for its “Lagom” lifestyle, meaning balance and moderation. It includes everything from diet to wardrobe. Tourists can experience this by joining in on “Fika”, a designated time for slowing down.
The government’s welfare system and thriving economy, built on sustainable natural resources, ensure that everyone is well taken care of. This leads to a sense of social support, trust in the government, and economic stability.
Studies have shown that proximity to water can also increase happiness. Norway offers plenty of opportunities to experience happiness. The country boasts some of Europe’s most beautiful and deepest lakes, including Lake Mjøsa that is located 60 miles north of Oslo.
New Zealand has maintained its position in the top ten happiest countries due to its low number of COVID-related deaths and the contentment of its people in both their professional and personal lives.
The country’s former prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, had implemented a Wellbeing Budget that allocates funds to initiatives aimed at improving mental health, reducing child poverty, and supporting marginalised communities. .
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