Finland named as the Happiest Country by the UN
Finland has been named as the world’s happiest place in the World Happiness Report 2018, finally toppling Norway from the top spot.
Nordic countries regularly appear in the top five, while war-hit countries and a number in sub-Saharan Africa regularly appear in the bottom five.
The survey ranks some 156 countries by their happiness levels, and 117 by the happiness of their immigrants.
Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland were the other countries in the top five. The UK and US came in at 19th and 18th places respectively.
Togo is seen to be this year’s biggest gainer, moving up 17 places, while the biggest loser is Venezuela, which dropped 20 places to 102nd.
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The study found that the 10 happiest countries also scored highest on immigrant happiness, suggesting that migrants’ wellbeing was tied to the quality of life in their adopted home.
With a population of around 5.5 million people, Finland counted some 300,000 foreigners in 2016, reports say.
“The most striking finding of the report is the remarkable consistency between the happiness of immigrants and the locally born,” said John Helliwell, co-editor of the report and a professor at the University of British Columbia.
The report relies on asking a simple, subjective question of more than 1,000 people in more than 150 countries.
“Imagine a ladder, with steps numbered from 0 at the bottom to 10 at the top.
“The top of the ladder represents the best possible life for you and the bottom of the ladder represents the worst possible life for you. On which step of the ladder would you say you personally feel you stand at this time?”
The average result is the country’s score – ranging from Finland’s 7.6 to Burundi’s 2.9.
But the report also uses statistics to explain why one country is happier than another. Some of the factors include; economic strength (measured in GDP per capita), social support, life expectancy, freedom of choice, generosity, and perceived corruption.