World’s happiest countries: Finland is No. 1 for the fifth consecutive year

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(CNN) – The world is on the brink of catastrophic loss of life and growing uncertainty, but there is some good news for humanity: philanthropy is on the rise globally.

One of the main findings of the World Happiness Report is the publication of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, which draws data from a global survey of people from about 150 countries.

In marking its 10th anniversary, the report focuses on happiness around the world – the happiest nations, which are at the very bottom of the scale of happiness and everything in between, plus the factors that lead to more happiness.

And with two years of Covid-19 epidemic data on books, the report reveals something unexpected.

John Halliwell, one of the report’s three founding editors, said: “The big surprise is that there has been a huge increase in the three types of philanthropy that have been asked about in the Gallup World Poll globally, unorganizedly.” CNN Travel.

Donating to charity, helping strangers and volunteering is all there is, “especially helping strangers in 2021, by a much larger amount in all regions of the world, either before the epidemic or before 2020,” said Haleville, British Columbia. Professor Emeritus at the University’s Vancouver School of Economics.

The three-step global average is about 25% higher than the pre-epidemic level in 2021, the report says.

And philanthropy is certainly at the top of the mind as the world responds to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But before we think about how that increasingly global conflict can affect happiness, let’s look at countries where there was plenty of emotion in 2021.

The happiest nation in the world is the Nordic

For the fifth year in a row, Finland is the happiest country in the world, according to the World Happiness Report ranking, which is based mostly on life evaluations in the Gallup World Poll.

The Nordic country and its neighbors Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Iceland all score very well on the measures used in the report to illustrate its findings: healthy living, GDP per capita, social support in times of crisis, low corruption and high social trust, generosity in community Where people care for each other and have the freedom to make major life decisions.

In this year’s ranking, Denmark comes in at No. 2, followed by Iceland at No. 3. Sweden and Norway are in seventh and eighth place respectively.

Switzerland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg rank 4th to 6th, with Israel at 9th and New Zealand in the top 10.

Canada (No. 15), United States (No. 16) and United Kingdom (No. 17) all ranked in the top 20.

People gather for a drink on a sunny day in Helsinki in June 2020.  For the fifth year in a row, Finland has been ranked as the happiest country in the world.

People gather for a drink on a sunny day in Helsinki in June 2020. For the fifth year in a row, Finland has been ranked as the happiest country in the world.

Alessandro Rampazo by Getty Images / AFP

Happiness in times of trouble

Another bright spot in this year’s report: Anxiety and stress decreased in the second year of the epidemic. While in 2021 they were still against pre-epidemic by 4%, in 2020 anxiety and stress increased by 8%.

“I think part of it is that people knew a little more about who they were dealing with in the second year, even if there were new surprises,” Halliwell said.

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The report states that the average life expectancy during an epidemic has been “significantly resilient”, with negative and positive effects offsetting each other.

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“For young people, life satisfaction has decreased, while for those over 60, it has increased – with a slight overall change,” the report said.

Halliwell acknowledges that there is a sense that crisis brings out the best or the worst in society.

“But in general, people are very pessimistic about the goodwill of the society in which they live, so when a real disaster occurs and they see a positive response to help others, it raises the opinion of both themselves and their fellow citizens. , “Said Halewell.

“And so you trust others and the normal life evaluation often goes up when you think ‘this is a bad time’, but what is happening is that people have worked together to deal with them. Have been. “

The world's attention is now focused on Ukraine, which is ranked 98th in the World Happiness Report.  Here, a few days after Russian troops invaded the country, St. Volodymyr Cathedral in Kiev is pictured on February 27.

The world’s attention is now focused on Ukraine, which is ranked 98th in the World Happiness Report. Here, a few days after Russian troops invaded the country, St. Volodymyr Cathedral in Kiev is pictured on February 27.

Chris McGraw / Getty Images

This interaction of negative and positive is very applicable to the situation in Ukraine, although it remains to be seen how the scales will eventually tip. “Working together will, to some extent, certainly offset the tragedies that have befallen Ukrainians,” Halliwell said.

“Their heartland is being attacked, so they will be affected a little bit together, but of course the real damage is terrible.”

The effects of the war on overall happiness in Russia are particularly vague because government censorship distorts information that could inform life assessments.

Surveys based on this year’s Happy Ranking were well conducted before the invasion. Both Ukraine and Russia are in the bottom half of the world rankings for happiness in the 2022 report, with Ukraine ranked 98th and Russia 80th.

Ranked 146th, Afghanistan is at the very bottom of the rankings in the 2022 report, “a full reminder of the material and material damage the war has done to many of its victims,” ​​said Jan-Emanuel de Neve, another report editor. A news release.

The current war in Ukraine means that happiness can spread to other parts of the world.

“It is inconceivable what some people can do on their television screens every day in the lives of people who have nothing to do with war and want nothing to do with war. They feel lucky that they are not there. Or Those who are there are sympathetic to the issue of pain, “Halewell said.

“And those are both real and understandable emotions, but they’re playing on opposite sides of the equation.”

Hopefully, the increase in philanthropy – in all its forms – will drive 2022 and beyond.

New Zealand ranks 10th in the list of happiest countries in the world.  Here, on the southern island of New Zealand, the famous Lupins of Lake Tekapo flourish.

New Zealand ranks 10th in the list of happiest countries in the world. Here, on the southern island of New Zealand, the famous Lupins of Lake Tekapo flourish.

Noraset Sani / Songkhla Studio / Adobe Stock

The happiest countries in the world, 2022 edition

1. Finland

2. Denmark

3. Iceland

4. Switzerland

5. The Netherlands

6. Luxembourg

7. Sweden

8. Norway

9. Israel

10. New Zealand

11. Austria

12. Australia

13. Ireland

14. Germany

15. Canada

16. United States

17. United Kingdom

18. Czech Republic (Czech Republic)

19. Belgium

20. France

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