What makes a country happy? Is it access to quality health care, a high life expectancy, financial stability, freedom, social connection, or a combination of everything? And how do you go about ranking a quality that’s almost impossible to quantify? This is a challenge that the World Happiness Report has taken on over the past nine years, relying on a wide variety of data — most notably the Gallup World Poll — to determine how every country around the world ranks when it comes to happiness, or what the report calls “average national life evaluations.”
In addition to taking into account the usual data, the team this year reviewed the effects of COVID-19 on the quality of people’s lives, considering everything from mental health and social interaction to job security and the government’s response to the pandemic. Their findings spotlight the countries that not only offer their inhabitants a happy, high quality of life, but have also provided well-being to their citizens throughout the tumultuous COVID-19 era.
Finland may have cold, dark winters, but the northern lifestyle clearly suits its citizens who have helped put the country at the top of the World Happiness Report for the third consecutive year (they were at number five in 2017). With a score of 7.889, Finland has once again set the tone for other nations when it comes to factors like social support, a healthy life expectancy, freedom, perceptions of corruption, and dystopia.
As a country, Finland offers its inhabitants and visitors access to the water, vast wilderness with national parks and ski resorts, and the country’s iconic Lapland region — home to the Sami people, reindeer, and the northern lights.
The country dropped from number two in 2020 to three in 2021, but it remains consistent in its place within the top five happiest countries in the world for many years running.
Among other factors, the country boasts a steady, high GDP, which offers its inhabitants financial security.
In addition to providing its people with a happy life, Germany is renowned for many things — most notably its art and nightlife-rich capital of Berlin, as well as the annual Oktoberfest in Munich.
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