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World Happiness Report 2021: Which countries are the happiest?

World Happiness Report 2021: Which countries are the happiest?

Finland has been labelled as the world’s happiest country for the fourth year in a row

The UN-sponsored World Happiness Report 2021 was released on 20 March, International Happiness Day. This year, the main theme of the report has been COVID-19 and its effects on happiness.

“This whole report focuses on the effects of COVID-19 and how people all over the world have fared. Our aim was two-fold, first to focus on the effects of COVID-19 on the structure and quality of people’s lives, and second to describe and evaluate how governments all over the world have dealt with the pandemic,” the report’s authors wrote.

How did COVID impact happiness?

2020 was a challenging year. COVID-19 resulted in panic, anxiety, uncertainty, and more importantly, the deaths of over 2.6 million people worldwide. Taking all of this into account, it is easy to see why the pandemic would be expected to impact people’s happiness and alter the results of the report.

Surprisingly, however, the top-performing countries from previous years remained relatively the same in 2021. In a statement on the World Happiness Report’s website, Professor John Helliwell commented on this as he noted that “there was not, on average, a decline in well-being when measured by people’s own evaluation of their lives.”

Explaining why this could be, Helliwell added, “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.”

Finland is the world’s happiest country

Out of the 149 countries listed in the World Happiness Report, Finland has ranked first for the fourth time in a row. Despite COVID-19, the Nordic country has managed to retain its title as the world’s happiest country.

The following countries have been listed as the Top 20 happiest countries in the world according to the 2021 report:

  1. Finland
  2. Iceland
  3. Denmark
  4. Switzerland
  5. Netherlands
  6. Sweden
  7. Germany
  8. Norway
  9. New Zealand
  10. Austria
  11. Israel
  12. Australia
  13. Ireland
  14. United States
  15. Canada
  16. Czech Republic
  17. Belgium
  18. United Kingdom
  19. China
  20. France

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