The World’s Happiest Country in 2023 is (Once Again) Finland, But What Does That Even Mean?

Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital. Nordic countries are among the most happy in the world.

By Jonathan Spira on 22 March 2023
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Happiness is a vague, multifaceted, and subjective phenomenon that is difficult to define precisely for measurement and hard to measure in a manner that would allow for meaningful comparisons.

Yet, Monday was World Happiness Day and the United Nation’s tenth annual International Day of Happiness and the day on which the 2023 World Happiness Report was released, a report that ranks countries based on how happy they are.

A global pandemic was declared some 1,106 days ago, and one subject frequently discussed in public and in private was how the coronavirus affects people’s moods.  Are we anxious all the time and sad or, if we are lucky, possibly cheerful and optimistic.

The good news is that global happiness has not taken a hit in those 1,106 days.  Life evaluations from 2022 to 2023 have been “remarkably resilient,” the report states, with global averages roughly in keeping with the three years that preceded the start of the 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,” said John Helliwell, one of the authors of the report.

The report looks at such factors as social support, income, health, freedom, generosity, and absence of corruption.

Finland – for the sixth consecutive year – is the world’s happiest nation according to the report.  Once again, Nordic nations do especially well in the report.  Finland is followed in the rankings by Denmark and Iceland.  Israel, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Austria, Australia, Canada, Ireland, and the United States make up the top 15.

Finally, it’s important to note where people are the the least happy.  The report’s editors found that people in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, and the Democratic Republic of Congo are the most miserable. Not only is Afghanistan the most miserable country in the world but it has been so since the beginning days of the report a decade ago.

For good measure, rounding out the bottom 15 are, in declining order, Egypt, Togo, Jordan, Ethiopia, Liberia, India, Madagascar, Zambia, Tanzania, Comoros, Malawi, and Botswana.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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