Scratching vacation destinations off of your bucket list? Pondering possible retirement spots? Looking for a perfectly positive partner? Try Finland! Why? Because this often overlooked Nordic nation has been named, “Happiest Country in the World” by the 2018 World Happiness Report. Who knew!
Compiled by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Solutions Network, the report ranks countries based on six factors deemed integral to a person’s sense of well-being: income, freedom, trust, healthy life expectancy, social support, and generosity. Five nations rank virtually neck-to-neck on the happiness scale: Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, and Norway. The Netherlands came in sixth place this year, followed by Canada, New Zealand, Sweden and Australia.
The 10 happiest countries also claimed 10 of the top 11 spots when it comes to immigrant happiness. Finland has the happiest immigrants; Mexico placed 10th in this category, which was a special focus of this year's report. This seems to indicate that the happiness of the “locals” and the happiness of the countries’ immigrant populations are quite consistent.
Alas, the United States dropped four spots since the 2017 report, coming in at 18th place. The report’s editors noted that, "The US happiness ranking is falling in part because of the ongoing epidemics of obesity, substance abuse, and untreated depression." Other powerful players that didn't place in the Top 10 were Germany (15th), the United Kingdom (19th), Japan (54th), Russia (59th) and China (86th).
So which countries are the unhappiest? Of the 156 countries tallied, people in Burundi are least happy with their lives, followed by Central African Republic (155), South Sudan (154), Tanzania (153) and Yemen (152).
Have you spent time in any of the five Happiest Countries? Did you notice that the people were significantly sunnier? My passport is longing for a stamp from Finland…