World’s Happiness Report 2022: Finland at the Top, United States at Number 16

The U.S. moved up 3 notches on the happiest country in the world chart, lagging just behind Ireland, Germany and Canada. The good news: the world cares more about happiness!

World Happiness Report 2022 is out: Finland took 1st place on the list as the world’s happiest country for the fifth year in a row, with other Nordic countries topping the list including Denmark in 2nd place and Iceland in 3rd place. Afghanistan was at the bottom of the list, in the same spot it held last year, with Lebanon very close above it.

This latest edition was completed before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It ranked Russia in 80th place and Ukraine in 98th.

“The World’s Happiness Report 2022 reveals a bright light in dark times,” the report, produced by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), reads. “The pandemic brought not only pain and suffering but also an increase in social support and benevolence. As we battle the ills of disease and war, it is essential to remember the universal desire for happiness and the capacity of individuals to rally to each other’s support in times of great need.”

The year marks the 10th anniversary of the World’s Happiness Report, ranking more than 150 countries on factors such as levels of GDP, life expectancy, generosity, social support, freedom, and levels of corruption. While the report has been published ahead of the International Day of Happiness marked on March 20th – as it has been every year since 2012 – the authors are not oblivious to the dark times the world is now facing in terms of the ongoing pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war.

“A decade ago, governments around the world expressed the desire to put happiness at the heart of the global development agenda, and they adopted a UN General Assembly resolution for that purpose. The World Happiness Report grew out of that worldwide determination to find the path to greater global well-being. Now, at a time of pandemic and war, we need such an effort more than ever. And the lesson of the World Happiness Report over the years is that social support, generosity to one another, and honesty in government are crucial for well-being. World leaders should take heed. Politics should be directed as the great sages long ago insisted: to the well-being of the people, not the power of the rulers,” said economist Jeffrey Sachs, a co-author of the report.

The good news from the report is that humanity’s care for individuals’ happiness keeps going up. “The most remarkable change seen during COVID-19 has been the global upsurge in benevolence in 2021,” the report states. “This benevolence has provided notable support for the life evaluations of givers, receivers, and observers, who have been gratified to see their community’s readiness to reach out to help each other in times of need. In every global region, there have been large increases in the proportion of people who give money to charity, help strangers, and do voluntary work in every global region. Altogether the global average of these three measures was up by a quarter in 2021, compared with before the pandemic.”

World’s Happiness Report 2022, top 40: