For the third year in a row, Finland has been declared the happiest country in the world. This emerges from the index published on Friday by the United Nations, which measures the state of happiness around the world. As in previous years, Scandinavian countries as well as Switzerland and New Zealand dominate the top ten of the World Happiness Report.
Germany is in 17th place on the 156 countries’ list, as in the previous year. The bottom of the list are countries affected by violent conflict and extreme poverty: Zimbabwe, South Sudan and Afghanistan.
The happiest countries are those “where people feel they belong, where they trust the institutions and each other,” said John Helliwell, one of the authors of the report.
For the survey on behalf of the United Nations, residents of 156 countries were asked about their quality of life. Various indicators are used, such as the gross domestic product per capita, social support, the expectation of healthy years of life, the absence of corruption and the possibility of free decisions.
The top position of the 5.5 million Finns has caused astonishment in the past. The alcoholism and suicide rate was high there for a long time, which was attributed to the long, dark winters. However, extensive public health programs have now more than halved the rate.
The data basis of the report is the years 2018 and 2019. The current restrictions in many countries in the wake of the Corona crisis have therefore not been included. However, the authors assume that the feeling of happiness could paradoxically increase in the wake of the pandemic. One possible explanation is “that people are pleasantly surprised by the willingness of their neighbors and the institutions to help each other,” the authors write.
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