Wednesday is the International Day of Happiness, and according to the United Nations’ latest new report, Finland is the happiest country on Earth.
The UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network's Happiness Report ranked 156 countries based on six factors: social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom, corruption, generosity, and GDP per capita.
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Finland topped the list for the second year in the row, making it the happiest country in the world. It was followed by other Nordic countries like Denmark, Norway, Iceland, and the Netherlands.
Despite the recent Christchurch attack, New Zealand also scored well, coming in eighth place for the second year in a row.
"What stands out about the happiest and most well-connected societies is their resilience and ability to deal with bad things," said report co-editor John Helliwell, referencing New Zealand. "After the 2011 earthquake and now the terrorist attack in Christchurch, with high social capital, where people are connected, people rally and help each other and [after the earthquake] rebuild immediately."
Six out of the 10 countries that are the least happy are in Africa, including South Sudan at the very bottom of the list. Over 80% of South Sudan’s population live in extreme poverty, with less than US $1 per day.
Yemen and Afghanistan also scored poorly on the happiness scale, according to the report. These countries both have high levels of poverty and contain high conflict zones.
Venezuela, which is in the midst of an economic and political crisis, had the most drastic decline in comparison to previous years. It fell 88 places from number 20 in 2013 to now number 108 on the list.
The United States also dropped five spots on the list since 2017, despite ranking in 10th place for income. The report said that while the US is a wealthy nation, its citizens struggle with addiction, and high social media usage is decreasing social interaction. Because of this, the US has high levels of sadness and anxiety, especially among adolescents.
Decreases in happiness from densely populated countries like the US and India have caused the world’s happiness levels to fall overall. The report also noticed an increase in negative emotions worldwide.
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Here are the happiest and least happy countries around the world:
The happiest countries:
8. New Zealand
The least happy countries:
1. South Sudan
2. Central African Republic