The World Happiness Report released its annual ranking of the happiest countries in the world and for the sixth year in a row Finland has landed in the top spot.
The UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, the organization behind the report, uses six key factors to help rank the more than 150 countries based on their average life evaluations between 2020-2022:
- Social support
- Absence of corruption
Using these factors, the report examines the happiness gap between the top and bottom halves of the population in each country ranked.
“This gap is small in countries where almost everyone is very unhappy, and in the top countries where almost no one is unhappy,” the report states.
This year’s ranking is similar to those in the past, with the same Nordic countries taking the top three spots. Just like in 2022, Denmark came in at No. 2 and was followed by Iceland at No. 3.
According to Frank Martela, a Finnish philosopher and psychology researcher, some of the reasons why people in Finland are so happy is because they don’t compare themselves to their neighbors, don’t overlook the benefits of nature, and don’t break the community circle of trust.
“Focus more on what makes you happy and less on looking successful. The first step to true happiness is to set your own standards, instead of comparing yourself to others,” Martela tells CNBC Make It.
Finland is willing to share its wisdom: It’s offering a free “masterclass of happiness” to help travelers find their “inner Finn.” Expert coaches will guide the lucky participants through four key themes: nature and lifestyle, health and balance, design and everyday, and food and well-being.
The United States didn’t rank in the top 10 on the list, but it did land at No. 15.
Top 10 happiest countries in the world
- New Zealand
Denmark’s high ranking is thanks in part to the level of equality in the country and the country’s sense of responsibility for social welfare, according to the country’s official website.
People living in Denmark do pay some of the world’s highest taxes — up to half of their income — but that is balanced by the fact that most healthcare in the country is free, university students pay no tuition and receive a grant to help cover expenses while studying, childcare is subsidized, and the elderly receive pensions and are provided with care helpers.
Iceland might be the most sparsely populated country in Europe, but its people are some of the happiest in the world, thanks to the country’s attitude towards relying on others and the fact that residents have a strong sense of community.
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), in Iceland, 98% of people believe they know someone they can rely on in a time of need. It is the highest rate in the OECD, where the average is 91%.
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Read More: Finland is the No. 1 happiest country in the world for the sixth year in a row