Happiest Countries In The World 2021

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Since 2002, the World Happiness Report has used statistical analysis to determine the world's happiest countries. In its 2021 update, the report concluded that Finland is the happiest country in the world.

To determine the world's happiest country, researchers analyzed comprehensive Gallup polling data from 149 countries for the past three years, specifically monitoring performance in six particular categories:

  • Gross domestic product per capita
  • Social support
  • Healthy life expectancy
  • Freedom to make your own life choices
  • Generosity of the general population
  • Perceptions of internal and external corruption levels

In order to properly compare each country's data, the researchers created a fictional country—christened Dystopia—filled with "the world's least-happy people." They then set Dystopia as the rock bottom value in each of the six categories and measured the scores of the real-world countries against this value. All six variables were then blended to create a single combined score for each country.

Interestingly enough, the top seven happiest countries in the world for 2021 were all Northern European countries. Finland took top honors—for the fourth year in a row—with an overall score of 7.842, followed (in order) by Denmark (7.620), Switzerland (7.571), Iceland (7.554), the Netherlands (7.464), Norway (7.392), and Sweden (7.363).

The least happy country in the world for 2021 was Afghanistan, whose 149th-place ranking of 2.523 can be attributed in part to a low life expectancy rate and low gross domestic product rates per capita. It's worthwhile to note that the report was released before the recent Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, which will undoubtedly impact future scores in one way or another.

Rounding out the bottom five are Zimbabwe (3.145), Rwanda (3.415), Botswana (3.467), and Lesotho (3.512).

For the full list of all 149 countries and their rankings, scroll down to the table below. For more on the top seven—as well as an inspiring honorable mention—read on.

The Top 7 Happiest Countries in the World (plus an inspiring honorable mention) for 2021:

Finland

Finland ranks as the world's happiest country based on the 2021 report, with a score of 7.842 out of a total possible score of 10. The report writers credited the citizens of Finland's strong feelings of communal support and mutual trust with not only helping secure the #1 ranking, but (more importantly) helping the country as a whole navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, Finlanders felt strongly that they were free to make their own choices, and showed minimal suspicion of government corruption. Both of these factors are strong contributors to overall happiness.

Denmark

The second-happiest country in the world is Denmark, which scores 7.620. Denmark's values for each of the six variables are quite comparable to those of Finland. In fact, Denmark even outscored the leader in multiple categories, including GDP per capita, generosity, and perceived lack of corruption, demonstrating that it may claim the top spot sometime in the near future.

Switzerland

As the third-happiest country in the world, Switzerland scored a total of 7.571 out of 10. In general, the Swiss are very healthy, with one of the world's lowest obesity rates and a long life expectancy. The Swiss also have a very high median salary, about 75% higher than that of the United States, and the highest GDP per capita in the top seven. Additionally, there is a strong sense of community in Switzerland and a firm belief that it is a safe and clean country—which is statistically true. Along with Iceland and Denmark, Switzerland is one of the world's safest countries.

Iceland

Iceland ranks as 2021's fourth-happiest country in the entire world, with a total score of 7.554. Of the top seven happiest countries around the globe, Iceland has the highest feeling of social support (higher even than Finland, Norway, and Denmark, which all tied for second place). Iceland also had the second-highest generosity score in the top seven, though it's worth noting that it ranked only 11th worldwide.

Netherlands

Edging out Norway for the honor of fifth-happiest country in the world is the Netherlands (also known as Holland to many tulip lovers), with a score of 7.464. The Netherlands scored higher in the generosity category than any other top-seven country and also displayed an impressive lack of perceived corruption.

Norway

The citizens of sixth-place Norway (7.392) feel they are being well cared for by their government thanks to universal healthcare and free college tuition. Norwegians also enjoy a healthy work-life balance, working an average of 38 hours per week vs. 41.5. hours per week in the United States. Additionally, Norway has a low crime rate and a strong sense of community among its citizens—a quality it shares with many of the top seven.

Sweden

Seventh-place Sweden (7.363) ranks high, if not quite highest, in virtually every category measured. For example: Sweden has a higher lack of corruption score than all but four countries worldwide (two of which are Finland and Denmark), the fourteenth-highest GDP per capita of all 149 countries measured, and the fourth-highest life expectancy in the top seven.

Honorable Mention: Bhutan

Bhutan was excluded from the 2021 report due to a technicality: Each country's scores are based upon detailed Gallup polls, but Gallup did not conduct polling in Bhutan during the required timeframe. However, the report's writers made a special effort to pay tribute to Bhutan, saying it "once again provided an inspiring example for the world about how to combine health and happiness. They made explicit use of the principles of Gross National Happiness in mobilizing the whole population in collaborative efforts to avoid even a single COVID-19 death in 2020, despite having strong international travel links." Impressive indeed. If Gallup begins polling in Bhutan, Northern Europe's hold on happiness may soon have competition.

Happiest Countries In The World 2021

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Happiest Countries In The World 2021

Country Happiness Rank Happiness Score 2021 Population
Finland17.8095,548,360
Denmark27.6465,813,298
Switzerland37.568,715,494
Iceland47.504343,353
Norway57.4885,465,630
Netherlands67.44917,173,099
Sweden77.35310,160,169
New Zealand87.34,860,643
Austria97.2949,043,070
Luxembourg107.238634,814
Canada117.23238,067,903
Australia127.22325,788,215
United Kingdom137.16568,207,116
Israel147.1298,789,774
Costa Rica157.1215,139,052
Ireland167.1294,982,907
Germany177.07683,900,473
United States186.94332,915,073
Czech Republic196.91110,724,555
Belgium206.86411,632,326
United Arab Emirates216.7919,991,089
Malta226.773442,784
France236.66465,426,179
Mexico246.465130,262,216
Taiwan256.45523,855,010
Uruguay266.443,485,151
Saudi Arabia276.40635,340,683
Spain286.40146,745,216
Guatemala296.39918,249,860
Italy306.38760,367,477
Singapore316.3775,896,686
Brazil326.376213,993,437
Slovenia336.3632,078,724
El Salvador346.3486,518,499
Panama366.3054,381,579
Slovakia376.2815,460,721
Uzbekistan386.25833,935,763
Chile396.22819,212,361
Bahrain406.2271,748,296
Lithuania416.2152,689,862
Trinidad And Tobago426.1921,403,375
Poland436.18637,797,005
Colombia446.16351,265,844
Cyprus456.1591,215,584
Nicaragua466.1376,702,385
Romania476.12419,127,774
Kuwait486.1024,328,550
Mauritius496.1011,273,433
Kazakhstan506.05818,994,962
Estonia516.0221,325,185
Philippines526.006111,046,913
Hungary5369,634,164
Thailand545.99969,950,850
Argentina555.97545,605,826
Honduras565.95310,062,991
Latvia575.951,866,942
Ecuador585.92517,888,475
Portugal595.91110,167,925
Jamaica605.892,973,463
South Korea615.87251,305,186
Japan625.871126,050,804
Peru635.79733,359,418
Serbia645.7788,697,550
Bolivia655.74711,832,940
Pakistan665.693225,199,937
Paraguay675.6927,219,638
Dominican Republic685.68910,953,703
Bosnia And Herzegovina695.6743,263,466
Moldova705.6084,024,019
Tajikistan715.5569,749,627
Montenegro725.546628,053
Russia735.546145,912,025
Kyrgyzstan745.5426,628,356
Belarus755.549,442,862
Greece775.51510,370,744
Hong Kong785.517,552,810
Croatia795.5054,081,651
Libya805.4896,958,532
Mongolia815.4563,329,289
Malaysia825.38432,776,194
Vietnam835.35398,168,833
Indonesia845.286276,361,783
Ivory Coast855.23327,053,629
Benin865.21612,451,040
Maldives875.198543,617
Republic Of The Congo885.1945,657,013
Azerbaijan895.16510,223,342
Ghana915.14831,732,129
Nepal925.13729,674,920
Turkey935.13285,042,738
China945.1241,444,216,107
Turkmenistan955.1196,117,924
Bulgaria965.1026,896,663
Morocco975.09537,344,795
Cameroon985.08527,224,265
Venezuela995.05328,704,954
Algeria1005.00544,616,624
Senegal1014.98117,196,301
Guinea1024.94913,497,244
Niger1034.9125,130,817
Laos1044.8897,379,358
Albania1054.8832,872,933
Cambodia1064.84816,946,438
Bangladesh1074.833166,303,498
Gabon1084.8292,278,825
South Africa1094.81460,041,994
Iraq1104.78541,179,350
Lebanon1114.7726,769,146
Burkina Faso1124.76921,497,096
Gambia1134.7512,486,945
Mali1144.72920,855,735
Nigeria1154.724211,400,708
Armenia1164.6772,968,127
Georgia1174.6733,979,765
Iran1184.67285,028,759
Jordan1194.63310,269,021
Mozambique1204.62432,163,047
Kenya1214.58354,985,698
Namibia1224.5712,587,344
Ukraine1234.56143,466,819
Liberia1244.5585,180,203
Palestine1254.5535,222,748
Uganda1264.43247,123,531
Chad1274.42316,914,985
Tunisia1284.39211,935,766
Mauritania1294.3754,775,119
Sri Lanka1304.32721,497,310
Dr Congo1314.31192,377,993
Eswatini1324.3081,172,362
Myanmar1334.30854,806,012
Comoros1344.289888,451
Togo1354.1878,478,250
Ethiopia1364.186117,876,227
Madagascar1374.16628,427,328
Egypt1384.151104,258,327
Sierra Leone1393.9268,141,343
Burundi1403.77512,255,433
Zambia1413.75918,920,651
Haiti1423.72111,541,685
Lesotho1433.6532,159,079
India1443.5731,393,409,038
Malawi1453.53819,647,684
Yemen1463.52730,490,640
Botswana1473.4792,397,241
Tanzania1483.47661,498,437
Central African Republic1493.4764,919,981
Rwanda1503.31213,276,513
Zimbabwe1513.29915,092,171
South Sudan1522.81711,381,378
Afghanistan1532.56739,835,428

Happiest Countries In The World 2021