In an annual UN-sponsored index, Finland has been named the world’s happiest country for the fifth year running. The report ranked Denmark second, with Switzerland, Iceland, and the Netherlands rounding up the top five happiest places globally. The authors of the report said that Finland ranked very high on “the measures of mutual trust that helped protect lives and livelihood during the pandemic”.
According to John Hopkins University, the Nordic nation of 5.5 million people fared better than most European nations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Finland reported just over 70,000 cases and 805 deaths due to coronavirus. While Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia recorded the most significant boosts in wellbeing, the largest falls in the world happiness table came in Lebanon, Venezuela and Afghanistan. The latest list, which was compiled before the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, ranked Afghanistan as the unhappiest.
New Zealand remained the only non-European nation in the top 10. The UK fell from 13th to 17th spot in this year’s ranking. India saw a marginal improvement in its happiness ranking, jumping up three spots to 136. The report’s authors noted a “significantly higher frequency of negative emotions” in just over a third of the countries, likely pointing to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.