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What is the happiest country in the world in 2023? Where is the US ranked?

The release of the 11th edition of the 2023 World Happiness Report showed that despite the pandemic average happiness has “been remarkably stable.”

Update:
The happiest country in the world in 2023
MOHAMMAD PONIR HOSSAINREUTERS

Since 2012, the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network has been releasing the World Happiness Report. The 11th edition “shows that despite several overlapping crises, most populations around the world continue to be remarkably resilient.” Global life satisfaction over three years of the covid-19 pandemic has remained just as high as it was in 2019 and before.

Finland took home the top spot yet again in the 2023. This is the sixth year it has been ‘Number One’ in the World Happiness Report. The United States moved up a spot to come in 15th. However, its average life evaluation slipped a little to 6.894 out of 10 in 2022 compared with 6.977 the year before.

All of the top ten had an average life evaluation above 7 out of 10. However, none exceeded an 8. Finland came in with a 7.804 average.

The top ten happiest countries:

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

At the opposite end of the list of are Afghanistan, Lebanon, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of Congo, Botswana, Malawi, Comoros, Tanzania and Zambia, all averaging less than 4 on the scale of 10.

Meanwhile, in Latin America, the two opposite poles are Costa Rica, in 23rd position, and Venezuela, in 88th position.

What is the World Happiness Report?

The report is produced using six factors social support, income, health, freedom, generosity, and absence of corruption. Researchers rank residents’ life evaluations based on a three-year average. The data is provided through self-reporting to the Gallup World Poll, which “measures life satisfaction ratings and emotional wellbeing and captures the important context that GDP does not explain.”

The annual analysis can be used by governments, business and civil society to orient public and private policies to promote happiness.

“The ultimate goal of politics and ethics should be human well-being,” said Jeffrey Sachs, professor and director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University. “The happiness movement shows that well-being is not a ‘soft’ and ‘vague’ idea but rather focuses on areas of life of critical importance: material conditions, mental and physical wealth, personal virtues, and good citizenship.”

“We need to turn this wisdom into practical results to achieve more peace, prosperity, trust, civility – and yes, happiness – in our societies.”

Despite the pandemic and other crises pro-sociality remains strong

“Average happiness and our country rankings, for emotions as well as life evaluations, have been remarkably stable during the three COVID-19 years,” said John Helliwell, professor at the University of British Columbia and one of the authors of the report.

“This year’s report features many interesting insights. But one that I find particularly interesting and heartening has to do with pro-sociality,” said Lara Aknin in a press release. “For a second year, we see that various forms of everyday kindness, such as helping a stranger, donating to charity, and volunteering, are above pre-pandemic levels.”

“Acts of kindness have been shown to both lead to and stem from greater happiness,” added Aknin. Benevolence was “one of the striking features” of the 2022 report. The latest edition showed that these acts are still about one-quarter more frequent than before the pandemic.

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