Finland is the happiest country on earth

Finland is the happiest country on earth

Finland was ranked the happiest country in the World Happiness Report for 2022. Finland has won the top spot for five consecutive years. It beat Denmark (7.636), Iceland (7.557), Switzerland (7.512) and the Netherlands (7.415) which occupied the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th positions respectively. According to the report, the most unhappy people reside in Afghanistan, a country torn apart by a war that lasted for two decades. The countries that occupied the last five positions were Botswana, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Lebanon and Afghanistan.

The World Happiness Report was first published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network in 2012. The assessment of happiness has attracted the attention of policy-makers across the globe. As a result, many countries are now using happiness or wellbeing to gauge the progress of their economies. The ranks were determined from a survey that covered three indicators, namely life evaluations, positive emotions and negative emotions. Life evaluations are explained by six variables of GDP per capita, freedom to make life choices, social support, generosity, perceptions of corruption and healthy life expectancy at birth. Positive emotions include laughter, enjoyment and learning something interesting while worry, sadness and anger are negative emotions.

The effects of COVID-19 are apparent as a lot of people have lost their loved ones and sources of livelihood. The assessment of life satisfaction has been, on average, stable in spite of the impact of the pandemic. Young people have been less satisfied with their lives than the aged (over 60 years). Worry and stress have risen compared to the period before the COVID-19 pandemic; worry and stress grew by 8% in 2020 and 4% in 2021.  But Covid-19 has propelled more people to give to and support the needy in all parts of the world.

Figure 1: Ranking of happiness

Source: World Happiness Report 2022