UN report finds Finland is the happiest country in the world
UN report finds Finland is the happiest country in the world A sunny day in Finland, the world’s happiest country in 2018 according to new UN report. (iStock/scanrail/Michael W Andersen/Flickr)
UN report finds Finland is the happiest country in the world
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Good cheer abounds in Naples, Florida. But as a whole, the United States is lagging behind comparably wealthy nations. That's when it comes to its residents’ happiness. The U.S. ranked 18th out of 156 countries surveyed in the World Happiness Report of 2018. The top spot went to Finland. That's according to Maggie Astor reporting for the New York Times.

The World Happiness Report is produced by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network. It draws on data from  Gallup International surveys conducted between 2015 to 2017. The surveys asked thousands of people across the globe to place themselves on a ladder with steps numbered from zero to 10. Ten represents the best possible life. This method is known as the Cantril scale.

Finland scored an average of 7.632. Other Nordic nations also ranked high on the list of happiest countries. After Finland, the top nine spots were occupied by Norway and Denmark. Iceland, Switzerland and the Netherlands followed. Canada, New Zealand, Sweden and Australia also took top spots.

The report evaluates six variables. First is GDP, or gross domestic product per capita. Other factors considered included social support and healthy life expectancy. It included freedom to make life choices and freedom from corruption. Lastly it included generosity. 

Most of the top 10 countries are social democracies. They “believe that what makes people happy is solid social support systems, good public services, and even paying a significant amount in taxes for that.” That's according to Jeffrey D. Sachs. He is director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University. He is an editor of the report. This political philosophy, he adds, is very different from that of the United States.

The economy in America is strong. But its place in the ranking fell four spots from last year’s report. Sachs explained that “America’s subjective wellbeing is being systematically undermined by three interrelated epidemic diseases. These include obesity, substance abuse (especially opioid addiction) and depression.” This is from an interview with Patrick Collinson of the Guardian.

Burundi placed last in the ranking with an average score of 2.905. Second from last was the Central African Republic. Both countries are plagued by political instability and violence. Most of the bottom ten spots are occupied by African nations. But Togo is one of this year’s biggest gainers. It ranked last in 2015, but rose 18 places in the 2018 report.

One of the major themes of this year’s report was the intersection of migration and happiness. Countries were also ranked based on the happiness of their immigrants. Strikingly, the authors of the report found that immigrant happiness scores were almost identical to the scores of the population at large. Finland, for example, also came first in the ranking of immigrant happiness. It was followed by Denmark, Norway and Iceland.

“The closeness of the two rankings shows that the happiness of immigrants depends predominantly on the quality of life where they now live, illustrating a general pattern of convergence,” the authors of the report write.

The authors also considered a Gallup index that measured how accepting countries are of migrants. A higher value for migrant acceptance was linked to greater happiness among both immigrants and native residents “by almost equal amounts,” the report says.

“Happiness can change, and does change, according to the quality of the society in which people live,” the authors of the report add. 

“The countries with the happiest immigrants are not the richest countries, but instead the countries with a more balanced set of social and institutional supports for better lives.”

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/tween56/un-report-finds-finland-happiest-country-world/

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
What factors were evaluated to judge happiness in the surveyed countries?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (26)
  • DorisC-ilc
    4/16/2018 - 01:10 p.m.

    Six factors were considered to judge happiness, such as the gross domestic product per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, freedom from corruption, and generosity.

    Some people believe that happiness in different countries in measured by income per capita but the article shows that there are many other ways to people fot being happy and satisfied with their lifestyle.

  • JoseL-ilc
    4/16/2018 - 05:28 p.m.

    To summarize, there is trend of happiness rising in countries where people feel freedom, the amount of happiness determine how their people will act, so it is notorious that countries like Finland will continue growing until become a fist class place for living like it already is.

  • JazminA-ilc
    4/16/2018 - 05:56 p.m.

    The factors to evaluate happiness in the surveyed countries were gross domestic product per capita, social system, health, freedom to express ideas, and political situation. Moreover, immigrants' happiness was taken into account as well.

  • holdenj-orv
    4/18/2018 - 11:22 a.m.

    Looks like Finland is still happy after beating the former Soviet Union in the Winter War 0f 1939-40.

  • averym-orv
    4/19/2018 - 02:45 p.m.

    I think i would like to visit Finland based off the ranking. But, it's also sad that the U.S is ranked 18th :(.

  • Alison B-man
    4/24/2019 - 03:15 p.m.

    the way the people acted and the overall health of the nation. porbably also the small rate of depretion.

  • Ruby D-man
    4/24/2019 - 06:47 p.m.

    The factors evaluated to judge the happiness of the surveyed countries were: Gross Domestic Product, social support, health life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, freedom from corruption, and generosity. I believe these are good factors to judge happiness on.

  • Mallory R-man
    4/24/2019 - 08:34 p.m.

    Some factors included social support, life expectancy, GPD or Gross Domestic Product per Capita. There was also freedom, freedom from corruption, and generosity.

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