The annual report, produced by the U.N Sustainable Development Solutions Network, ranks 149 countries based on gross domestic product per person, healthy life expectancy and the opinions of residents. Surveys ask respondents to indicate on a 1-10 scale how much social support they feel they have if something goes wrong, their freedom to make their own life choices, their sense of how corrupt their society is and how generous they are.
Because of the pandemic, the surveys were done in slightly fewer than 100 countries for this year’s World Happiness Report. Index rankings for the other nations were based on estimates from past data.
For the fourth year in a row, Finland finished on top. Rounding out the top 10 were Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Luxembourg, New Zealand and Austria, in that order.
“We find year after year that life satisfaction is reported to be happiest in the social democracies of northern Europe,” Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs, one of the report’s co-authors, told the AP. “People feel secure in those countries, so trust is high. The government is seen to be credible and honest, and trust in each other is high.”
Associated Press reports were used in this article.