The latest World Happiness Report is out — and it hasn’t changed much since last year. Released on the International Day of Happiness (Mar 20) by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations, it declares Finland to be the happiest country on the planet for the second year in a row. Rounding out the top five are most of its Nordic neighbors, with Denmark as runner-up, followed by Norway, Iceland, and the Netherlands.
Perhaps your next vacation can take you to one of these places just to see what “happiness” looks like elsewhere.
Ranking 156 countries based on how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be, the report takes into account variables like income, freedom, trust, healthy life expectancy, social support, and generosity.
Report co-editor John Helliwell, a professor emeritus of economics at the University of British Columbia, explained to CNN that even though “it’s true that last year all Finns were happier than rest of the countries’ residents,” they also housed the “happiest immigrants in the world.”
“It’s not about Finnish DNA,” he said. “It’s the way life is lived in those countries.”
As for the rest of the top ten, Switzerland takes sixth spot, with Sweden, New Zealand, Canada, and Austria at its heels. Dropping one notch, Australia comes in at 11th position. Other countries of note include the United Kingdom (#15), Germany (#17), the United States (#19), and the United Arab Emirates (#21).
Scarcely featuring any countries around the East Asian and Southeast Asian region, the list spotlights Taiwan at 25th place, while Singapore comes in at 34th, Thailand at 52nd, and South Korea at 54th. As for Bhutan, the Himalayan nation known for its Gross National Happiness Index moves up two ranks this year to 95th position.
On the other end of the spectrum, where war-torn countries lie, South Sudan lands at the bottom of the barrel as the most miserable place on the list, barely bested by the likes of the Central African Republic, Afghanistan, Tanzania, Rwanda, Yemen, Malawi, Syria, Botswana, and Haiti.