Finland topped the rankings of the world’s happiest countries for the fourth time, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the 2021 World Happiness Report released on Friday. The editors of the report found that even though the emotions changed in the pandemic year, longer-term satisfaction with life was less affected.
The annual report, produced by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, ranks 149 countries based on gross domestic product per person, healthy life expectancy and the opinions of residents. The survey asked participants to indicate on a 1-10 scale how much social support they feel they have if something goes wrong, their freedom to make their own life choices, their sense of how corrupt their society is and how generous they are. The surveys were done in slightly less than 100 countries this year due to the pandemic. Rankings for the other nations were based on estimates from the past data. Nine of the top 10 countries in the report are European.
Finland was followed by Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Luxembourg, New Zealand and Austria. New Zealand was again the only non-European nation in the top 10. The UK fell from 13th to 17th place. The country deemed the most unhappy in the world was Afghanistan, followed by Lesotho, Botswana, Rwanda and Zimbabwe.