That’s according to the 2021 World Happiness Report, released on Friday. Of the 10 happiest countries, nine were European.
After Finland, in order, came Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Luxembourg, New Zealand and Austria, according to the report.
“We see year after year that life satisfaction is considered the happiest in the social democracies of northern Europe,” report co-author Jeffrey Sachs told The Associated Press. “People feel safe in these countries, so trust is high. The government is seen as credible and honest, and mutual trust is high.
Meanwhile, the United States came in at 19th place, down one spot from last year.
The annual report is produced by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network and ranks 149 countries based on gross domestic product per person, healthy life expectancy and residents’ opinions.
He also questions the respondents, asking them to indicate on a scale of 1 to 10 the social support they feel in the event of a problem, their freedom to make their own life choices, their feeling of the corruption of their society and their generosity. .
The report typically includes data from the previous three years of surveys to “increase the sample size and keep the confidence limits smaller,” a press release said.
However, this year, analysts also compiled a separate list of the happiest countries based on the 2020 results alone to see how countries performed during the pandemic, regardless of previous years.
Finland also took first place on this list, followed by Iceland, Denmark, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, Norway, New Zealand and Austria.
According to the press release, the report’s authors found that the most important factors in happiness were “people’s trust in each other and trust in their government.”
“We urgently need to learn from Covid-19,” Sachs said in a statement. “The pandemic reminds us of our global environmental threats, the urgent need to cooperate and the difficulties in achieving cooperation in individual countries and around the world.”
“The World Happiness Report 2021 reminds us that we need to aim for well-being rather than mere wealth, which will indeed be fleeting if we don’t do a much better job in addressing the challenges of sustainable development,” said he added.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.