Happiest people and countries: report

Finland is the happiest country in the world, says UN report
Finland is the happiest country in the world, says UN report (image: Lonely Planet)

People in Finland are the happiest on Earth, according to a report published earlier this week.

The World Happiness Report, produced by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network — a global initiative launched by the UN in 2012, found that people in Finland were the most content, overtaking neighbouring Norway as the happiest place to live.

Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden and Australia rounded up the top 10 in this report.

The United States of America fell to 18th place from last year’s 14th, as speculation that its new commander-in-chief Donald Trump may have made some Americans miserable.

Taiwan was ranked as the happiest nation in East Asia, standing at No. 26.

Singapore was ranked 34th, Japan 54th, South Korea 57th, Hong Kong 76th and China at 86th.

The report, released on Wednesday, compared the happiness level of 156 nations, assessing factors including average life span, social support and corruption.

Other factors included income, healthy life expectancy, freedom, trust and generosity.

The country that ranked last in the report was Burundi, preceded by the Central African Republic in 155th and South Sudan in 154th.

John Helliwell, a co-editor of the report and professor emeritus of economics at the University of British Columbia, said a society’s happiness seems to be contagious, as all of the top-10 nations scored highest in overall happiness and the happiness of immigrants.

The rankings were based on annual surveys from 2015 to last year of 1,000 people in each nation who were asked to rate their lives on a scale of zero for the worst possible life to 10 for the best possible life, the report’s Web site said.

– from staff and media reports