Finland is the World’s Happiest Country Again

Gage Sawyer, Editor

In a year when loved ones, jobs, and individual freedoms were lost in the pandemic, it wouldn’t be surprising if people around the world felt greater dissatisfaction with their lives.

However, while mental health has declined in many countries, there has been a surprising resilience in how people rate their lives overall, according to this year’s World Happiness Report.

The world’s happiest country also stayed the same, as Finland came out on top for the fourth straight year. Denmark was second and Switzerland third. Iceland and the Netherlands completed the top five, while the United States ranked 19th on the list.

Finland, a small Nordic country with a population of around 5.5 million, has used past wins to tout tourism and promote its natural beauty. Finland has fared relatively well and there were only a total of 805 deaths over the last year because of Covid.

the country has consistently ranked high on the measures of mutual trust that have helped protect lives and livelihoods during the pandemic and for the 4th year in a row, Finland is the happiest country in the world their happiness stems from a balanced everyday life, supported by good governance, trust, wellbeing, and equality. And the pandemic has not changed this long-lasting foundation.

The annual happiness rankings are based on citizens’ evaluations of their own lives. The study uses data from the Gallup World Poll, which asks respondents to assess their life as a whole by imagining a ladder, with the best possible life for them as 10 and the worst possible as 0. This year’s report looked specifically at the relationship between well-being and Covid-19. It also attempts to assess how governments around the world have dealt with the coronavirus and to explain why some countries may have done better than others.

“Surprisingly there was not, on average, a decline in well-being when measured by people’s own evaluation of their lives,” said John Helliwell, an editor of the report and a professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia in Canada.

“One possible explanation is that people see Covid-19 as a common, outside threat affecting everybody and that this has generated a greater sense of solidarity and fellow-feeling,” he added.

While people’s life satisfaction may not have been dramatically affected by Covid-19, emotions and mental health did change during the first year of the pandemic. The report this year paid more attention than usual to specific daily emotions in order to track the pandemic’s impact on different aspects of life.

The study found, for example, that there was an approximately 10 percent increase in the number of people who said they were worried or sad the previous day.

It also assessed that there had been a “large and immediate” decline in mental health in many countries when the pandemic first hit. Average mental health later improved but didn’t recover to where it had started.

Throughout the pandemic, everyone has faced struggles and had problems but we have and we need to be able to ban together and bring each other up.