Finland ranked eighth in the world for happiness: Research

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 According to research, Finland was deemed the eighth happiest country in the world.

Finland ranked eighth in the world for happiness: Research
Sanna Marin, the former prime minister of Finland, at a meeting on December 2, 2022, at Kirribilli House in Sydney

According to an annual World Happiness Report sponsored by the UN and released on Wednesday, Finland has continued to be the happiest nation in the world for seven years running.

Additionally, the Nordic nations maintained their rankings among the top ten happy nations, with Denmark, Iceland, and Sweden lagging behind Finland.

Afghanistan remained at the bottom of the 143 countries surveyed, wracked by a humanitarian crisis ever since the Taliban retook power in 2020.

The United States and Germany, which came in 23rd and 24th place, respectively, were not among the top 20 happiest countries for the first time since the report's publication more than ten years ago.

Kuwait and Costa Rica, meanwhile, stormed into the top 20 at positions 12 and 13.

The world's largest countries were no longer among the happiest countries, according to the research.

 "The Netherlands and Australia are the only two nations in the top 10 with populations of more than 15 million. Only the UK and Canada have populations of more than 30 million out of the top 20."

Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Jordan saw the worst declines in happiness between 2006 and 2010, while Serbia, Bulgaria, and Latvia saw the largest rises.

The self-assessed assessments of life satisfaction by individuals, along with GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity, and corruption, are the basis for the happiness ranking.

Growing inequality

Jennifer De Paola, a happiness researcher at the University of Helsinki in Finland, told AFP that Finns' close connection to nature and healthy work-life balance were key contributors to their life satisfaction.

In addition, Finns may have a "more attainable understanding of what a successful life is", compared to for example the United States where success is often equated with financial gain, she said.

Finns' strong welfare society, trust in state authorities, low levels of corruption and free healthcare and education were also key.

"Finnish society is permeated by a sense of trust, freedom, and high level of autonomy," De Paola said.

This year's report also found that younger generations were happier than their older peers in most of the world's regions -- but not all.

In North America, Australia and New Zealand, happiness among groups under 30 has dropped dramatically since 2006-10, with older generations now happier than the young.

By contrast, in Central and Eastern Europe, happiness increased substantially at all ages during the same period, while in Western Europe people of all ages reported similar levels of happiness.

Happiness inequality increased in every region except Europe, which authors described as a "worrying trend".

The rise was especially distinct among the old and in Sub-Saharan Africa, reflecting inequalities in "income, education, health care, social acceptance, trust, and the presence of supportive social environments at the family, community and national levels," the authors said.



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