Brussels 15.08.2022 The European Union’s member-state Finland was crowned the happiest country in the world for the fifth consecutive year, with a score significantly ahead of its peers in the World Happiness Report 2022 ranking.
The other EU member-state Denmark kept its second place, the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network said on Friday, August 13. Iceland bypassed Switzerland to take third place and the Netherlands concluded the top five. The U.S. ranked 16th, up three places from 2021.
“The lesson of the World Happiness Report over the years is that social support, generosity to one another, and honesty in government are crucial for well-being,” Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, said.
“World leaders should take heed,” Sachs said. “Politics should be directed as the great sages long ago insisted: to the well-being of the people, not the power of the rulers.”
Over the ten years the report has been published, the biggest gains in happiness have taken place in Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania, and biggest declines posted in Lebanon, Venezuela and Afghanistan. The authors detected, on average, a long-term moderate upward trend in stress, worry, and sadness in most countries, as well as “a slight long-term decline in the enjoyment of life,” they wrote.
The report uses global survey data to report on how people evaluate their own lives in more than 150 countries around the world, with the ranking based on a three-year average. Key variables that contribute to explaining people’s life evaluations include gross domestic product per capita, healthy life expectancy, generosity, social support, freedom to make life choices and perceptions of corruption.