Every year, the United Nations (UN) assembles a report on the happiness levels of all countries on earth. Happiness is not a quantifiable factor. Therefore, it is extremely difficult to measure. However, the UN uses several indicators that provide a fairly informative idea on how happy or satisfied people are. Some of the indicators used in compiling the report include income, social support, trust, freedom, generosity, and life expectancy among other factors. Prior to 2018, the report did not include the happiness levels of immigrants. However, in 2018, the happiness immigrants was calculated and included in the report.
Happiest Countries in 2018
Nordic countries such as Finland, Norway, and Denmark take the top spots as the happiest nations on the planet in 2018. In the top spot is Finland, which was in position five in 2017 rankings. Previously first position Norway is number two while Denmark, previously second, is in the third position. Last year’s position third and fourth, Iceland and Switzerland respectively, are now position four and five respectively in 2018. With the exception of Finland, which was fifth last year, the rankings remain the same. From position six to ten in 2018, the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, and Australia respectively. The rankings are similar to those of 2017.
Finland - The Happiest Country in the World
Finland outdid all other countries in most of the criteria used by the UN in preparing the report. Finland, a nation with a population of 5.5 million people, is also ranked as being the safest and most stable and with the best governance worldwide with minimal corruption and highest social progression. Even with the inclusion of immigrants, Finland still tops the ranking. This position is despite the fact that Finland has some of the highest taxes in the world. According to the report, most people don’t view it as a bad thing. In fact, they are of the opinion that the high taxes serve to improve the quality of life for its citizens including free healthcare and university education.
Unhappiest Countries of 2018
Of the ten bottom counties in the list, seven of them are from Africa. These countries include Malawi, Liberia, Rwanda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Central African Republic, and Burundi. Incredibly, some African countries (Rwanda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Central African Republic, and Burundi) are below Syria in the ranking, a country plagued by civil strife.
Biggest Gains and Losses
Despite the poor score by African states, one African country is the biggest gainer. Togo has risen an incredible 18 places from bottom of the 2017 ranking to become the most improved. Others with big gains are Latvia and Bulgaria. The biggest loser in 2018 is Venezuela, with an even bigger drop than that of Syria.
Three of the world’s economic powerhouses, the United Kingdom, China, and the United States also show interesting data. The US has dropped four places from the 2016 rankings down to 18th place in 2018. The drop has been attributed to epidemic diseases like obesity, depression, and substance abuse. In 19th place is the UK while China has stagnated with the happiness levels reducing.
World Happiness Day
The first report was published in 2012 the same year the International Happiness Day was established through an act of the United Nations. The International Happiness Day is celebrated on the 20th of March annually. All 193 member states adopted the resolution with the aim of recognizing happiness as a fundamental human need.
Happiest Countries Of The World, 2018
|Rank||2018's Happiest Countries||2018's Unhappiest Countries|
|1||Finland, score: 7.632||Burundi, score: 2.905|
|2||Norway, score: 7.594||Central African Republic, score: 3.083|
|3||Denmark, score: 7.555||South Sudan, score: 3.254|
|4||Iceland, score: 7.495||Tanzania, score: 3.303|
|5||Switzerland, score: 7.487||Yemen, score: 3.355|
|6||Netherlands, score: 7.441||Rwanda, score: 3.408|
|7||Canada, score: 7.328||Syria, score: 3.462|
|8||New Zealand, score: 7.324||Liberia, score: 3.495|
|9||Sweden, score: 7.314||Haiti, score: 3.582|
|10||Australia, score: 7.272||Malawi, score: 3.587|