Finland was elected this Friday for the fourth consecutive year the “happiest country in the world”, ahead of Denmark, Switzerland and Iceland, in a world ranking of well-being that has seen affected in disparate ways by the pandemic.
Germany ranks 13th, Canada 14th, the United Kingdom 17th, the United States 19th and Spain 27th. Europe monopolizes nine of the top ten places.
Costa Rica is the first Latin American country on this list, in 16th place, followed by Guatemala (30th), Uruguay (31st), Brazil (35th), Mexico (36th), Panama (41st) and Chile (43rd), in a list of 149 nations that takes into account data from the last three years.
A sunset in Finland. Photo: AP
The 149th country, that is, the most unhappy according to this listIt is Afghanistan, a nation subjected to decades of wars and conflicts, accompanied in the last places by several African countries.
The authors of the study, sponsored by the United Nations and published since 2012, They use Gallup company polls that question respondents about their perception of happiness and cross these data with GDP figures, data on individual freedom, corruption and others to arrive at a result.
Comparing this list with others before the pandemic, the study authors find that there has been “a significantly higher frequency of negative emotions ” in a third of countries.
But in 22 countries, there is no perceived decline in well-being or in people’s perception of their own lives, sums up John Helliwell, one of the study’s authors, surprised.
“One possible explanation is that people see COVID-19 as a common and external threat that hurts everyone and that has generated a greater feeling of solidarity and empathy, “said the expert.
The secret to Finnish happiness
Despite the long winters and the fact that its inhabitants have a reputation for not being expressive and very lonely, Finland has a high standard of living, public services that work very well, many forests and lakes and register very positive indices in terms of solidarity and the fight against poverty and inequality.
Finland achieves a score of 7.84 out of 10, and for the first time the Netherlands entered the “top 5” by occupying the fifth place in the latest edition of this “World Happiness Report”
Finland is also one of the developed countries with the best balance against COVID, as the country has reached high levels “in mutual trust measures that have helped protect lives during the pandemic,” according to the study.
For a decade, the European Nordic countries have consistently ranked first in this ranking: before Finland, Norway was the happiness leader in 2017 and Denmark held that first place for a time.
Among the great powers, India is the lowest ranked at 139th.
In Africa, the highest ranked country is Congo Brazzaville, ranked 83rd. From Asia, the first to appear is Taiwan (24º).
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