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World Happiness Report 2023: Nordic Countries are the happiest countries

The World Happiness Report 2023, an annual publication by the United Nations' Sustainable Development Solutions Network, has once again revealed that residents in Finland, Denmark, and Iceland remain the happiest people in the world.

This year's report also marks the tenth anniversary of the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/281, declaring March 20th as the annual International Day of Happiness.

These are the happiest nations in the world

The Travel Reporter network suggests that there seems to be a correlation that states: the further north, the happier people are. In this year's World Happiness Report, Finland ranks first for the sixth consecutive time. All the other Scandinavian countries follow in the top ten.

Compared to other nations, people in Finland are the most satisfied with their lives. The average life satisfaction score is 7.804. The relaxed lifestyle, nature, low crime rate, and high standard of living are some of the reasons cited by the capital newspaper "Helsinki Times" for the Finns' satisfaction. Finland even has its own word for life satisfaction: "Onni."

Denmark once again takes second place. This is partly attributed to the Danish philosophy of life called "Hygge," which means "cosy togetherness." Iceland ranks third. And although the Nordic countries are not wealthier than many other countries, they have a higher level of trust, mutual respect, and support.

Israel stands out somewhat. Last year, it ranked ninth. Given the tense security situation between Israel and Palestine, as well as the mass protests in the country against the controversial judicial reform, its rise to fourth place is surprising. However, the people in Israel rate their life satisfaction at 7.47.

Germany drops two places compared to the previous year and only manages to reach 16th place. Thus, German citizens are less happy than the Dutch or the Swedes, who rank fifth and sixth, respectively, but happier than, for example, the people in France (21st place), Spain (32nd place), and Italy (33rd place).

Sense of happiness high despite crises

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and other crises, especially the Russian attack on Ukraine, the sense of happiness has remained constant worldwide. For example, the Finns still perceive themselves as happy despite the deteriorating security situation in Europe and the country's ongoing NATO accession process. The life evaluations in most populations around the world have also remained remarkably stable. The report also shows that the global average values, despite three years of the COVID-19 pandemic, are as high as in the three years before the pandemic. According to the report, people are generally happier in countries where happiness and well-being are distributed as evenly as possible among the population.

The countries with the happiest people all have good healthcare systems. This seems to be an important component for well-being. In our video, international expert Anne explains which countries, according to the OECD, have the best healthcare systems.

How happiness is measured:

The country rankings in the report are based on the individual perceptions of the respondents. Independent scientists in the United States analysed data from Gallup surveys conducted over the past three years in 157 countries. An index is then calculated from this data, measuring life satisfaction in different countries and considering six key factors:


Freedom to make life choices

Perceptions of corruption

Social support

Healthy life expectancy

Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

Values or preferences of people are not predetermined at birth. Their characters, habits, and values are shaped by the social institutions they live in and the norms they adopt from them.

This article is from the 2/2023 issue of the magazine "Life Abroad".

The magazine is published four times a year free of charge with many informative articles on foreign topics.

It is published by the BDAE, the expert for protection abroad.