And no, it’s not Denmark…
Scandinavians must be feeling pretty smug right now, because a new report from the United Nations has shown that in terms of happiness levels, countries in this region blow the rest of us out the water.
Every year the intergovernmental organisation releases its ‘World Happiness Report’ which acts as a landmark survey for global happiness, and this year you can just about guess who came out on top.
Looking at 156 countries, the report takes into account income, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust and generosity, to gauge the mental health of the people who live there.
From data compiled between 2015 and 2017, the United Nations have named 10 countries the happiest in the world, and a whopping six of them are Scandinavian.
Scandinavia has long been heralded for its open-minded attitude, succinct working hours and enviable hygge winter traditions, with various studies showing that this way of life makes the region’s inhabitants some of the happiest in the world.
Many of the countries featured in the top 10 list are not newcomers, with Scandinavian countries having dominated the selection for years. But this year, Finland have pipped the rest to the post.
Bordering Sweden, Norway and Russia, Finland is famous for its breath-taking scenery, picturesque lakes and view of the natural phenomenon, the Northern Lights. The country has overtaken Norway to vault five places into the top spot, and is closely followed by Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland.
Although Finland has a high tax rate, these funds go towards supporting social programs and free or low-cost higher education and healthcare, that positively benefit society. The life expectancy of a native Finnish person is considered very high, with the average woman living until 84 and the average man until 78.
The Guardian reports that Mike Wiking of the Happiness Research Institute in Denmark said of the report: “The Finns are good at converting wealth into wellbeing.
“In the Nordic countries in general, we pay some of the highest taxes in the world, but there is wide public support for that because people see them as investments in quality of life for all. Free healthcare and university education goes a long way when it comes to happiness.”
Burundi in east Africa has been named as the unhappiest place to live in the world, and is known for severe conflict and civil war.
You can find the full list of top ten happiest places to live in the world below:
(2017 ranking in brackets)
- 1. Finland (5)
- 2. Norway (1)
- 3. Denmark (2)
- 4. Iceland (3)
- 5. Switzerland (4)
- 6. Netherlands (6)
- 7. Canada (7)
- 8. New Zealand (8)
- 9. Sweden (10)
- 10. Australia (9)
Time for a change of scenery, perhaps?