United Nations – A group of experts found that Finland remains the happiest country in the world, according to a report released Monday in conjunction with the U.N.’s International Day of Happiness.
The World Happiness Report ranked the Nordic state first for the sixth consecutive year.
According to the report, which used data from Gallup, the top 10 happiest countries are: Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Israel, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Luxembourg and New Zealand.
The U.S. was ranked 15th on the list.
The report uses several factors to evaluate each country, including physical and mental health, lack of corruption and effective government, among others.
“The ultimate goal of politics and ethics should be human well-being,” said one of the report’s authors, Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University.
“The happiness movement shows that well-being is not a ‘soft’ and ‘vague’ idea but rather focuses on areas of life of critical importance: material conditions, mental and physical wealth, personal virtues, and good citizenship,” Sachs said. “We need to turn this wisdom into practical results to achieve more peace, prosperity, trust, civility – and yes, happiness – in our societies.”
Another author of the report, professor John Helliwell of the Vancouver School of Economics at the University of British Columbia, said that the average level of happiness around the world has been remarkably stable during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Even during these difficult years, positive emotions have remained twice as prevalent as negative ones, and feelings of positive social support twice as strong as those of loneliness,” Helliwell said.
Russia’s war in Ukraine has taken a toll on the eastern European nation. However, while the country’s well-being has fallen amid the devastation, the report found that Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 affected it more.
“This is thanks in part to the extraordinary rise in fellow feeling across Ukraine as picked up in data on helping strangers and donations – the Russian invasion has forged Ukraine into a nation,” said co-author Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, director of the Wellbeing Research Centre at the University of Oxford.
The good news? There was a globe-spanning surge of benevolence. The report found it’s about 25% more common than before the pandemic.