Finland Named 'Happiest Country' In World - Here's Why Nordic Nations Are Consistently Ranked Most Cheerful
15 March, 2018, 04:51
The United States ranked 18th in the report, dropping down four spots from previous year.
For the fifth year in a row, Israel has been listed as the 11th happiest country in the world, according to the United Nations' annual "World Happiness Report", which was released on Wednesday.
The Nordic nation headed up the 156-country ranking, followed by last year's victor Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland. In 2015, the Alpine nation won first place in the ranking, but subsequently dropped to second in 2016 and fourth previous year.
In the latest edition of the UN's World Happiness Report, Finland tops 155 other countries when it comes to well-being, as measured by metrics like income, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust and generosity.
John Helliwell, a co-editor of the World Happiness Report and professor emeritus of economics at the University of British Columbia, said a society's happiness seems to be contagious as all the top-10 nations scored highest in overall happiness and the happiness of immigrants.
The explanation becomes even more complete when account is taken of global differences in a new Gallup index of migrant acceptance, based on local attitudes towards immigrants, as detailed in an Annex to the Report.
Commenting on the report, Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute, based in Denmark, told HuffPost UK: "The Nordic "secret" to happiness lies in their ability to limit misery - that is, people who report very low levels of happiness".
The United States and the United Kingdom were in 18th and 19th place respectively.
The top 10 countries' averages ranged from 7.632 for first-place Finland to 7.272 for 10th-place Australia; the United States' average was 6.886, down from 6.993 previous year.
Finland is the happiest place on Earth, according to the 2018 World Happiness Report of 156 nations. "I think the basics are quite good in Finland", said Sofia Holm, 24-year-old resident of Helsinki, the Nordic country's capital. Last year's victor was Norway.
A total of 156 countries took part in the survey, which is is compiled using Gallup polls asking people to evaluate various aspects of their lives on a scale from 0 to 10.
Having come top of the pile in both 2013 and 2016, Denmark is now back to third on the social happiness ranking, where it also found itself in 2015. The U.N. would go on to declare March 20 as the official date since 2012 with the understanding that happiness is a "fundamental human goal" and that it's an important consideration in the creation of public policy around the world.
This year's survey was also the first to assess the happiness of immigrants in each of the countries.
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