International Happiness Day 2023: Covid has not made people unhappier and UK makes top 20

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International Happiness Day 2023: Covid has not made people unhappier and UK makes top 20

Finland has been named the world's happiest country for the sixth year running, in an annual UN-sponsored index.Nordic countries again also dominated

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Finland has been named the world’s happiest country for the sixth year running, in an annual UN-sponsored index.

Nordic countries again also dominated the 2023 World Happiness Report.  

Despite several overlapping global crises including the pandemic and war in Ukraine, most countries saw global life satisfaction averages between 2020 and 2022 just as high as those in the pre-pandemic years, researchers found. 

Interviews with more than 100,000 people across the 137 countries ranked also saw significantly higher benevolence levels globally than before the pandemic. 

Finland has been named the world's happiest country for the sixth year running, in an annual UN-sponsored index

Finland has been named the world's happiest country for the sixth year running, in an annual UN-sponsored index

Finland has been named the world’s happiest country for the sixth year running, in an annual UN-sponsored index

Eight of the ten happiest nations were found in Europe, with Denmark scooping second place, at 7.58 points. Pictured, Copenhagen, Denmark

Eight of the ten happiest nations were found in Europe, with Denmark scooping second place, at 7.58 points. Pictured, Copenhagen, Denmark

Eight of the ten happiest nations were found in Europe, with Denmark scooping second place, at 7.58 points. Pictured, Copenhagen, Denmark

This was followed by Iceland, Israel and the Netherlands who recorded scores of 7.53, 7.47 and 7.40 respectively. Pictured above, Akureyri in North Iceland

This was followed by Iceland, Israel and the Netherlands who recorded scores of 7.53, 7.47 and 7.40 respectively. Pictured above, Akureyri in North Iceland

This was followed by Iceland, Israel and the Netherlands who recorded scores of 7.53, 7.47 and 7.40 respectively. Pictured above, Akureyri in North Iceland

The World Happiness Report, now in its 11th year, is based on people’s own assessment of their happiness, as well as economic and social data.

It assigns a happiness score on a scale of zero to 10, based on an average of data over a three-year period.

This year the authors also used data from social media to compare people’s emotions before and after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Eight of the ten happiest nations were found in Europe, with Denmark scooping second place, at 7.58 points. 

This was followed by Iceland, Israel and the Netherlands who recorded scores of 7.53, 7.47 and 7.40 respectively.

The UK dropped three places on last year to sit in 19th place – with 6.80 points – figures also show, behind the US who ranked 15th happiest country in the world and Australia in 12th. 

Lithuania is the only new country in the top twenty, up more than 30 places since 2017, while France dropped out of the top 20, placing in 21st position.

War-scarred Afghanistan and Lebanon remain the two unhappiest countries in the survey, retaining bottom spots, with average life evaluations more than five points lower than in the ten happiest countries. 

‘Average happiness and our country rankings, for emotions as well as life evaluations, have been remarkably stable during the three Covid years,’ said John Helliwell, Canadian economist and editor of the World Happiness Report.

He added: ‘Changes in rankings that have taken place have been continuations of longer-term trends, such as the increases seen in the rankings of the three Baltic countries. 

‘Even during these difficult years, positive emotions have remained twice as prevalent as negative ones, and feelings of positive social support twice as strong as those of loneliness.’ 

It is the first year the rankings take into account Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, with Ukraine ranking 92nd, with Russia in 70th.   

Both countries shared the global increases in benevolence during 2020 and 2021. 

But during 2022, benevolence grew sharply in Ukraine but fell in Russia.

Despite the magnitude of suffering and damage in Ukraine, life evaluations in September 2022 remained higher than in the aftermath of the 2014 annexation.

Analysts believe this is because Ukrainians are supported now by a stronger sense of common purpose, benevolence, and trust in Ukrainian leadership.

The study is carried out by the UN-backed Sustainable Development Solutions Network and the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University.

Full rankings: The 2023 World Happiness Report
RankingCountry nameLadder score
1Finland7.804
2Denmark7.586
3Iceland7.530
4Israel7.473
5Netherlands7.403
6Sweden7.395
7Norway7.315
8Switzerland7.240
9Luxembourg7.228
10New Zealand7.123
11Austria7.097
12Australia7.095
13Canada6.961
14Ireland6.911
15United States6.894
16Germany6.892
17Belgium6.859
18Czechia6.845
19United Kingdom6.796
20Lithuania6.763
21France6.661
22Slovenia6.650
23Costa Rica6.609
24Romania6.589
25Singapore6.587
26United Arab Emirates6.571
27Taiwan Province of China6.535
28Uruguay6.494
29Slovakia6.469
30Saudi Arabia6.463
31Estonia6.455
32Spain6.436
33Italy6.405
34Kosovo6.368
35Chile6.334
36Mexico6.330
37Malta6.300
38Panama6.265
39Poland6.260
40Nicaragua6.259
41Latvia6.213
42Bahrain6.173
43Guatemala6.150
44Kazakhstan6.144
45Serbia6.144
46Cyprus6.130
47Japan6.129
48Croatia6.125
49Brazil6.125
50El Salvador6.122
51Hungary6.041
52Argentina6.024
53Honduras6.023
54Uzbekistan6.014
55Malaysia6.012
56Portugal5.968
57South Korea5.951
58Greece5.931
59Mauritius5.902
60Thailand5.843
61Mongolia5.840
62Kyrgyzstan5.825
63Moldova5.819
64China5.818
65Vietnam5.763
66Paraguay5.738
67Montenegro5.722
68Jamaica5.703
69Bolivia5.684
70Russia5.661
71Bosnia and Herzegovina5.633
72Colombia5.630
73Dominican Republic5.569
74Ecuador5.559
75Peru5.526
76Philippines5.523
77Bulgaria5.466
78Nepal5.360
79Armenia5.342
80Tajikistan5.330
81Algeria5.329
82Hong Kong S.A.R. of China5.308
83Albania5.277
84Indonesia5.277
85South Africa5.275
86Congo (Brazzaville)5.267
87North Macedonia5.254
88Venezuela5.211
89Laos5.111
90Georgia5.109
91Guinea5.072
92Ukraine5.071
93Ivory Coast5.053
94Gabon5.035
95Nigeria4.981
96Cameroon4.973
97Mozambique4.954
98Iraq4.941
99State of Palestine4.908
100Morocco4.903
101Iran4.876
102Senegal4.855
103Mauritania4.724
104Burkina Faso4.638
105Namibia4.631
106Turkiye4.614
107Ghana4.605
108Pakistan4.555
109Niger4.501
110Tunisia4.497
111Kenya4.487
112Sri Lanka4.442
113Uganda4.432
114Chad4.397
115Cambodia4.393
116Benin4.374
117Myanmar4.372
118Bangladesh4.282
119Gambia4.279
120Mali4.198
121Egypt4.170
122Togo4.137
123Jordan4.120
124Ethiopia4.091
125Liberia4.042
126India4.036
127Madagascar4.019
128Zambia3.982
129Tanzania3.694
130Comoros3.545
131Malawi3.495
132Botswana3.435
133Congo (Kinshasa)3.207
134Zimbabwe3.204
135Sierra Leone3.138
136Lebanon2.392
137Afghanistan1.859

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