Finland places fifth when measuring happiness among 155 countries in the World Happiness Report 2017, released by the United Nations.
According to Professor John Helliwell of the University of British Columbia, who is one of the researchers in the report, the top countries share an emphasis on the future over the present, achieved by high levels of mutual trust, shared purpose, generosity and good governance. This illustrates that high level of happiness depends on much more than income.
Norway ranks as the happiest country, jumping three spots from last year and displacing Denmark, which had held the top spot for three out of the past four years. Rounding out the rest of the top ten in order are Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden. The U.S. ranked 14th dropping down one spot from last year.
The Nordic countries far outpace the U.S. on personal freedom, social support and lower corruption – thereby accounting for the higher levels of Nordic happiness.
The report was conducted by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network SDSN and is the fifth one to come out since 2012. The report continues to gain global recognition as governments, organizations and civil society increasingly use happiness indicators to inform their policy-making decisions.
“The World Happiness Report,” said Director Jeffrey Sachs at SDSN, “continues to draw global attention around the need to create sound policy for what matters most to people – their well-being. As demonstrated by many countries, this report gives evidence that happiness is a result of creating strong social foundations. It’s time to build social trust and healthy lives, not guns or walls.”