Finland voted happiest country in the world, France in 27th place

Finland voted happiest country in the world, France in 27th place

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Life is obviously good in the Nordic countries. Finland has consolidated its place as the happiest country in the world, winning this title for the seventh consecutive yearaccording to a UN-sponsored report published this Wednesday.

The Nordic countries top the top ten places with Denmark, Iceland and Sweden following Finland. France is 27th.

Afghanistan at the bottom of the rankings

At the other end of the ranking, Afghanistan, in the grip of to a humanitarian disaster since the Taliban’s return to power in 2020, occupies last place of 143 countries. For the first time in more than 10 years, the United States and Germany did not appear among the 20 happiest nations, coming in 23rd and 24th place.

Costa Rica and Kuwait enter the top-20 in twelfth and thirteenth position. None of the most populous countries in the world are among the top twenty countries. “Among the top ten, only the Netherlands and Australia have more than 15 million inhabitants. Within the top twenty, only Canada and the United Kingdom have more than 30 million inhabitants,” according to the report.

Income, health, freedom among the criteria

The biggest declines in the happiness index since the period 2006-10 concern Afghanistan, Lebanon and Jordan while Serbia, Bulgaria and Latvia show the biggest increases.

The World Happiness Report is a measure of happiness published by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network every year since 2012. It is based on people’s assessment of their happiness, as well as economic and social data. The report takes into account six key factors: social support, income, health, freedom, generosity and absence of corruption.

Proximity to nature and a good work-life balance are the key to Finnish satisfaction, Jennifer De Paola, a researcher specializing in this topic at the University of Helsinki, told AFP. Finns may have a “more accessible understanding of what a successful life is,” compared, for example, to the United States where success is often associated with financial gains, she adds.

Free access to education

Trust in institutions, low corruption and free access to healthcare and education are also essential. “Finnish society is imbued with a sense of trust, freedom and a high level of autonomy,” Ms De Paola said.

The annual report also highlights a stronger sense of happiness among younger generations than older ones in most, but not all, regions. The index has fallen dramatically since 2006-10 among those under 30 in North America, Australia and New Zealand and is now lower than among older people in these regions.

On the other hand, it progressed in all age groups in Eastern Europe over the same period. The gap between generations has widened everywhere in the world except Europe, which is considered “worrying” by the authors of the report.

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