Finland has been named the world’s happiest country for the fifth year in a row, according to an annual report, and other Scandinavian countries continue to rank highly.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s 10th World Happiness Report, published Friday, found that Finland’s score was “significantly ahead” of other countries in the top 10.
Denmark remained in second place, followed by Iceland, while Sweden and Norway were seventh and eighth respectively on the list.
The ranking is based on how the 146 countries on the list scored in the Gallup World Poll between 2019 and 2021. The score includes factors such as gross domestic product per capita and social support, as well as how a country’s citizens exercise their freedom. about life choices and generosity.
The report even noted a global increase in benevolence in 2021, amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
John Helliwell, a professor at the University of British Columbia who helped edit the report, said there had been “remarkable global growth” in the three acts of kindness measured by the Gallup World Poll: helping strangers, volunteering and donations. People were doing all three nearly 25% more than before the pandemic, he noted.
Although this data was collected before the Russian attack on Ukraine, the crisis has left many people from neighboring countries eager to help Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war.
The report also highlighted that the Scandinavian countries tended to show higher levels of personal and institutional trust, and were generally better at coping with the coronavirus pandemic. For example, in 2020 and 2021, there were 27 deaths per 100,000 people from Covid-19 in the Scandinavian countries, compared to 80 in the rest of Western Europe.
However, the report also pointed to the divide between Sweden, which chose not to impose full social distancing restrictions at the start of the pandemic, and the rest of the Nordic countries. Covid death rates were five times higher in Sweden, at 75 per 100,000, than in the rest of the Nordic countries, at 15 per 100,000.
This edition of the World Happiness Report also sought to use the data to shed light on the “often overlooked and underappreciated” factor of balance and harmony. Again, people in the Nordic countries in particular were found to experience higher levels of balance and harmony.
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