Finland is the world's happiest country

Leroy Wright
March 21, 2019

The top ten countries were largely Nordic nations with strong social welfare systems and an emphasis on equality.

The only non-European countries to feature were New Zealand and Canada which were eighth and ninth place respectively.

"Denmark and Norway have also increased their average scores, but Denmark by more than Norway, so Denmark is now in second place and Norway third".

South Africa is ranked at 106th on the list - behind African countries including Mauritius (57th) and Nigeria (85th).

"What stands out about the happiest and most well-connected societies is their resilience and ability to deal with bad things", Helliwell told CNN. "After the 2011 quake and now the terrorist attack in Christchurch - with high social capital, where people are connected - people rally and help each other and (after the earthquake) rebuild immediately".

Finland topped the index for the second consecutive year, with researchers saying the small Nordic country of 5.5 million people, known for their love of forests, lakes and saunas, has succeeded in generating a happiness recipe not simply dependent on economic wealth. In other areas, the U.S. ranks fairly low, including 62nd place in freedom and 42nd in absence of corruption. The report was published today, the International Day of Happiness, by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the UN.

No other super powers made it into the top 10 rankings, either.

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It came 15th while Ireland came in 16th place. Ranked right above Vietnam at 93rd place is China.

The world's least happy country is South Sudan, followed by Central African Republic, Afghanistan, Tanzania, Rwanda, Yemen, Malawi, Syria, Botswana and Haiti.

This coincided with a rise in negative feelings "comprising worry, sadness, and anger, especially marked in Asia and Africa, and more recently elsewhere", it said.

Finland is once again the world's happiness nation.

While Scandinavia may have reason to celebrate, the rest of the world is not so happy.

This report is the seventh to come out since 2012.

The happiness study ranks the countries of the world on the basis of questions from the Gallup World Poll.

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