There’s cause for optimism.
For the Covid pandemic has not actually impacted global happiness, scientists have discovered.
Nordic countries once again dominated the 2023 World Happiness Report.
While Finland was also named the world’s happiest country for the sixth year running, in the annual UN-sponsored index.
Scroll down to view the full ranking list of the 137 countries involved.
Finland has been named the world’s happiest country for the sixth year running, in an annual UN-sponsored index. Pictured, Helsinki, Finland
Eight of the ten happiest nations were found in Europe, with Denmark scooping second place, at 7.58 points. Pictured, Copenhagen, Denmark
This was followed by Iceland, Israel and the Netherlands who recorded scores of 7.53, 7.47 and 7.40 respectively. Pictured above, Akureyri in North Iceland
War-scarred Afghanistan and Lebanon remain the two unhappiest countries in the survey, retaining bottom spots, with average life evaluations more than five points lower than in the ten happiest countries. Pictured above, Mazar-e-Sharif, provincial capital of Balkh province, Afghanistan
Despite several overlapping global crises including the pandemic and war in Ukraine, most countries saw global life satisfaction averages between 2020 and 2022 just as high as those in the pre-pandemic years, the researchers found.
Interviews with more than 100,000 people across the 137 countries ranked also saw significantly higher benevolence levels globally than before the pandemic.
The World Happiness Report, now in its 11th year, is based on people’s own assessment of their happiness, as well as economic and social data.
It assigns a happiness score on a scale of zero to 10, based on an average of data over a three-year period.
This year the authors also used data from social media to compare people’s emotions before and after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Eight of the ten happiest nations were found in Europe, with Denmark scooping second place, at 7.58 points.
This was followed by Iceland, Israel and the Netherlands who recorded scores of 7.53, 7.47 and 7.40 respectively.
The UK dropped three places on last year to sit in 19th place – with 6.80 points – figures also show, behind the US who ranked 15th happiest country in the world and Australia in 12th.
Lithuania is the only new country in the top twenty, up more than 30 places since 2017, while France dropped out of the top 20, placing in 21st position.
War-scarred Afghanistan and Lebanon remain the two unhappiest countries in the survey, retaining bottom spots, with average life evaluations more than five points lower than in the ten happiest countries.
Sierra Leone also fell 135th position, ranking the third unhappiest country with 3.14 points.
‘Average happiness and our country rankings, for emotions as well as life evaluations, have been remarkably stable during the three Covid years,’ said John Helliwell, Canadian economist and editor of the World Happiness Report.
He added: ‘Changes in rankings that have taken place have been continuations of longer-term trends, such as the increases seen in the rankings of the three Baltic countries.
‘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.’
It is the first year the rankings take into account Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, with Ukraine ranking 92nd, with Russia in 70th.
Both countries shared the global increases in benevolence during 2020 and 2021.
But during 2022, benevolence grew sharply in Ukraine but fell in Russia.
Despite the magnitude of suffering and damage in Ukraine, life evaluations in September 2022 remained higher than in the aftermath of the 2014 annexation.
Analysts believe this is because Ukrainians are supported now by a stronger sense of common purpose, benevolence, and trust in Ukrainian leadership.
The study is carried out by the UN-backed Sustainable Development Solutions Network and the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University.
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