Finland may have been the happiest country in the world for five years in a row — but the US is gaining ground.

This is according to the 10th annual World Happiness Report, published Friday by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network. The US is now the 16th happiest country in the world, just behind Ireland, Germany and Canada.

That’s a three-point gain from last year, when the US was 19th. The US now tops countries like the UK, the Czech Republic, Belgium and France in a series of happiness stats.

The report uses Gallup World Poll data from 2019 to 2021 to score 146 countries based on factors including gross domestic product per capita, social support, life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity and perceptions of corruption.

Researchers note that Finland’s victory is not even close this time: the score is “significantly higher” than any other country. Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland and the Netherlands round out the top five, in that order.

The report says the world is experiencing, on average, a long-term moderate upward trend in stress, worry and sadness, and a slight long-term decline in pleasure in life. But assessments of average life, which take into account the net difference between negative and positive influences, have “remained remarkably resilient during Covid-19”.

John Helliwell, a University of British Columbia professor who edited the report, noted “remarkable global growth” in three acts of kindness measured by the Gallup World Poll: helping strangers, volunteering, and making donations. In total, the global average of these three actions was 25% higher in 2021 than in the pre-pandemic period.

Notably, the data for the report was collected prior to the Russian attack on Ukraine. Authors say future prospects for global happiness will depend on the course of the Covid pandemic and the extent of the military conflict.

“The pandemic brought not only pain and suffering, but an increase in social support and benevolence,” the report reads. “As we battle the ills of disease and war, it is essential to remember the universal desire for happiness and the ability of individuals to support each other in times of dire need.”

Check out: This country has been named the happiest in the world for the fifth year in a row

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