Keeping good company at the top: Finland number one in World Happiness Report

We’re jumping for joy, because Finland is officially the happiest country on the planet.

They say it’s lonely at the top, but the same five countries are at the top of the World Happiness Report in 2018, just in a different order than 2017. How do they measure happiness?

Produced by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and carried out by independent researchers, the report takes into account six key variables that “have been found to support wellbeing,” it says. They are income, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust and generosity.

Finland jumped from fifth place to displace the previous number one, Norway, which moved to number two. Another Nordic neighbor, Denmark, took third place, followed by Iceland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Canada and New Zealand. Sweden is ninth.

New in the 2018 report is a ranking of immigrant happiness, based on Gallup data spanning 2005 to 2017. “Perhaps the most striking finding of the whole report,” says the report, “is that a ranking of countries according to the happiness of their immigrant populations is almost exactly the same as for the rest of the population.” This means that the happiness of immigrants to a country “converges” with that of the country’s general population. Finland also leads the table entitled Happiness Ranking for the Foreign-Born.

“The happiest immigrants are not [those in] the richest countries,” say the report authors, “but instead [those in] countries with a more balanced set of social and institutional supports for better lives.”

By ThisisFINLAND staff, March 2018