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Finland The World’s Happiest Country - Carlos Gamino
News from Attorney Carlos Gamino

Why is Finland the “World’s Happiest Country”?

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By Carlos Gamino

An annual UN report – the World Happiness Report – says that Finland is the happiest country on Earth. The small nation kicked Norway off the top of the list, which is usually dominated by Nordic countries. (The least-happy: Burundi, which replaced the Central African Republic on the bottom of the list.)

The UN report, which gauges the happiness levels of citizens and immigrants, has included the same top ten countries for the past two years, although they have shifted in ranking a little bit over time. The top ten this year are:

1. Finland
2. Norway
3. Denmark
4. Iceland
5. Switzerland
6. Netherlands
7. Canada
8. New Zealand
9. Sweden
10. Australia

(In case you were wondering, the U.S. comes in at #18, below Israel, Austria, Costa Rica, Ireland Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg but above the United Arab Emirates, China and Saudi Arabia).

The report gauges six key variables:

  • Income
  • Healthy life expectancy
  • Social support
  • Freedom
  • Trust and perceived corruption
  • Generosity

Interestingly, the report includes data on immigrant happiness and uses it as a ranking factor – and each of the top ten countries have the happiest immigrants in the world, too. According to the report, “Perhaps the most striking finding of the whole 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.”

The 172-page report is packed with data, including changes in happiness levels over time (Togo jumped up 17 places on the list, while Venezuela dropped 20 places to occupy the 102nd spot on the list) and average scores on a scale of 0 to 10. Finland’s overall score is 7.9, while Burundi, in the bottom spot, is 2.9.

What Do You Think?

Do you think the U.S. should’ve placed higher on the list, or are we in a pretty accurate spot? I’d love to hear your thoughts (and whether you’ve bought a plane ticket to Finland yet), so please share them on Twitter or on  my Facebook page.

Carlos Gamino