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The happiest countries in the world

13.05.2022
Young traveler
© Patiwat Sariya / Shutterstock

The World Happiness Report has been publishing a ranking of the happiest countries in the world every year for the past ten years. This study was initiated in 2011 by the UN General Assembly. 

The report takes the data of the Gallup World Survey for objectivity, in which 150 countries of the world take part (in 2022 — 146). 

The rating is compiled on a 10-point scale based on indicators in six categories:

  • gross domestic product per capita;
  • social support;
  • healthy life expectancy;
  • the freedom of citizens to make their own life choices;
  • the generosity of the population in general;
  • perception of levels of internal and external corruption.

TOP 10 happiest countries

The happiest countries in the world, regardless of their place in the ranking, have similar characteristics — strong and stable economies, high incomes of citizens, the best education and health systems, strict environmental regulations and protection of nature, a balance between work and personal time, and high life expectancy for a healthy life.

Finland

Finland has been the happiest country in the world for the past five years. This year, it topped the ranking with a score of 7.842, an increase of 0.033 points over last year. The positive growth in overall satisfaction with life occurred even despite the economic downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is noted that Finland has one of the best social security and education systems in the world. The key to success is the high respect for teachers, equal opportunities, and experimental forms of education with a little testing of students. These factors are thought to reduce stress and anxiety. In addition, Finns showed minimal suspicion of government corruption and a strong belief that they were free to make their own choices.

Evening street in Helsinki
Kirkkokatu street in Helsinki © Grisha Bruev / Shutterstock
Helsinki Cathedral
Cathedral of Saint Nicholas in Helsinki © FOTOGRIN / Shutterstock

Denmark

Denmark received 7.636 points and second place in the ranking. At the same time, the report points out that the country managed to surpass Finland in such categories as life expectancy, social support, and generosity. Consequently, it has demonstrated that it can rise to the top again shortly. In addition, Denmark is one of the world's dominant countries with the best living conditions for women.

Old harbor of Copenhagen
Nyhavn harbor in Copenhagen © Arcady / Shutterstock
Coastline in North Jutland
Skagen in Denmark © larskuse / Shutterstock

Iceland

Iceland completes the top three happiest countries, with a score of 7.557. Last year, it was in fourth place in the ranking, but despite the pandemic and the difficulties associated with it, it managed to show growth. The authors of the report note that many Icelanders are confident in support of their compatriots, and this makes them happier.

Tourists ride horses at a waterfall in Iceland
Skogafoss waterfall in Iceland © Blue Planet Studio / Shutterstock
Houseboat in a small fishing village
North coast of Iceland © Shepps / Shutterstock

Switzerland

Switzerland is one of the most prosperous countries, which confirms its place in the top five happiest countries in the world. This year it scored 7.512, slightly lower than the previous year. Its residents are considered the healthiest in the world, and the country has one of the highest GDP per capita in the world. And all important decisions (and not so important ones) about the government are made by voting in referendums. This gives its citizens a sense of belonging to the whole and of their own importance, thereby increasing their satisfaction with life.

Swiss Alps and mountain restaurant under the Escher Rock
Mount Ebenalp and restaurant under the rock of Escher © fokke baarssen / Shutterstock
Reus promenade at night
River Reus in Lucerne © Pani Garmyder / Shutterstock

Netherlands

The Netherlands rounds out the top five happiest countries in the world with a score of 7.415, just 0.03 percent below the previous figure. Their residents showed a significant degree of trust in government and generosity. The feeling of happiness of citizens is also affected by the high level of security in the state and a favorable geographical location — the Dutch often go on holiday abroad for the weekend. In addition, it is common in the Netherlands to maintain close family relationships and lead a measured lifestyle.

Beautiful Dutch fishing village
Traditional houses of a fishing village on the island of Marken © JaySi / Shutterstock
Old buildings of Amsterdam
Amsterdam © V_E / Shutterstock

Luxembourg

Luxembourg takes the sixth line in the ranking of the happiest countries in the world, with 7.404 points. Compared to last year, it has risen by two points. This shows that the difficulties caused by the pandemic could not hinder the happiness of everyone. The state of Luxembourg provides its citizens with high wages, social guarantees, free medicine, and an annual compulsory leave of five weeks. These factors reduce anxiety and increase life satisfaction.

Shopping street in the heart of Luxembourg
Terrace at the corner of Rue des Capucines and Grand-Rue shopping street © Harry Beugelink / Shutterstock
Landscape of the old city of Luxembourg during sunrise
Luxembourg © Rudy Balasko / Shutterstock

Sweden

Sweden has a score of 7.384 and ranks seventh in the ranking of happy countries. It has consistently demonstrated some of the highest rates of corruption-free living, healthy life expectancy, and GDP per capita in the world. In addition, the government's policies are focused on social and gender equality and work-life balance for its citizens. All of this together gives people a sense of stability and positive emotions.

Square in the old town of Stockholm
Stortorget in Stockholm © Marina Datsenko / Shutterstock
Square in Stockholm
Stortorget square in Stockholm © Marina Datsenko / Shutterstock

Norway

Norway scored 7.365 in the ranking of happy countries, ranking eighth. The pillars of its citizens' happiness are a stable and successful economy, responsible management of natural resources, social support, high trust in government, and beautiful nature that encourages positive emotions.

During the polar night in Norway
Hamnøy in Norway © Woodophotography / Shutterstock
Travel by van
Norway landscape © Andrey Armyagov / Shutterstock

Israel

Israel is ranked ninth (7,364 points). This Middle Eastern state has entered the top ten happiest countries in the world for the first time, having risen from the twelfth place. The main indicator that has grown significantly here since last year is citizens' trust in the government. During the pandemic, Israel vaccinated most of the population, which stopped the spread of COVID-19. A significant degree of satisfaction among Israelis with their lives is also associated with social security, high standards of education, and the quality of medical care.

Line of the Old City in Jerusalem
Western Wall and Temple Mount in Jerusalem © Sean Pavone / Shutterstock
Street cafe in Tel Aviv
Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv © Finn stock / Shutterstock

New Zealand

With a score of 7,200, New Zealand rounds out the top 10 happy countries. During the pandemic, it had one of the lowest COVID-19 mortality rates in the world. Thanks to this, its citizens experienced less negative emotions and anxiety. During the survey of residents, the state managed to get high scores in all categories. It is known that billions of dollars are allocated annually from the budget here for such initiatives as promoting mental health, reducing child poverty, and supporting indigenous peoples. In addition, the residents of New Zealand get positive emotions from the mild climate and beautiful nature. It is worth noting that it is also the cleanest country in the Asia-Pacific region.

Suspension bridge at Mount Cook
Hooker Valley Track at Mount Cook © Yunsun_Kim / Shutterstock
Auckland skyline at blue hour
St. Marys Bay in Auckland © Winston Tan / Shutterstock

The happiest countries in the world 2022

Austria opens the second top ten lucky countries of the world, closing the leaders of the Eurasian continent. Australia, the first country from the Southern Hemisphere, is ranked 12th. Ireland and Germany follow it. Canada comes next (15th place), the happiest country on the American continent. The U.S. follows it (compared to 19th place last year). The European states, Great Britain and the Czech Republic are ranked 17th and 18th, respectively. They are followed by Belgium, and France closes the top twenty.

Singapore is in the first place as the happiest country in Southeast Asia (27th place in the overall ranking). The Philippines (60th), Thailand (61st), Vietnam (77th), Indonesia (87th), Laos (95th), Cambodia (114th), and Myanmar (126th) are next.

Three Eastern European countries showed the greatest growth in 2022:

  • Romania was able to improve significantly and rose from 46th place to 28th;
  • Serbia also showed an increase in happiness in the country, rising from 48th place to 43rd;
  • Bulgaria showed an increase, moving from 88th place to 85th.
Young couple jumping together in the lake
Lake in the mountains © kovop58 / Shutterstock