Finland tops the list of happy countries, US and Germany not in the top 20

New Delhi: In the annual UN-sponsored World Happiness Report released on Wednesday, Finland has been ranked as the world’s happiest country for the seventh consecutive year.

The Nordic countries have also maintained their positions among the top 10 happiest countries, including Denmark, Iceland, and Sweden. Afghanistan, plagued by a humanitarian catastrophe since falling to the Taliban in 2020, remains at the bottom of the 143 countries surveyed.

This marks the first time in this annual report, published more than a decade ago, that the United States and Germany are not among the 20 happiest countries.

In the new survey, the US has ranked 23rd, while Germany has ranked 24th. Costa Rica and Kuwait have entered the top 20, securing 12th and 13th positions, respectively.

The report notes that the happiest countries no longer include any of the world’s largest countries. Only the Netherlands and Australia have populations exceeding 15 million among the top 10 countries, while only Canada and the UK have populations over 30 million among the top 20.

The sharpest declines in happiness since 2006-2010 were observed in Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Jordan, whereas the sharpest increases were recorded in Eastern European countries such as Serbia, Bulgaria, and Latvia.

The happiness ranking is based on self-assessments of individuals’ life satisfaction, as well as factors like GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, independence, generosity, and corruption.

Jennifer De Paola, a happiness researcher at the University of Helsinki in Finland, mentioned that Finns’ close connection to nature and a healthy work-life balance significantly contribute to their life satisfaction. She noted that Finns have a “greater understanding of what a successful life is” compared to countries like the United States, where success is often equated with financial gain.