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

Rank Country Happiness 2021 Happiness 2020 2021 Population
1Finland7.8427.8095,548,360
2Denmark7.627.6465,813,298
3Switzerland7.5717.568,715,494
4Iceland7.5547.504343,353
5Netherlands7.4647.44917,173,099
6Norway7.3927.4885,465,630
7Sweden7.3637.35310,160,169
8Luxembourg7.3247.238634,814
9New Zealand7.2777.34,860,643
10Austria7.2687.2949,043,070
11Australia7.1837.22325,788,215
12Israel7.1577.1298,789,774
13Germany7.1557.07683,900,473
14Canada7.1037.23238,067,903
15Ireland7.0857.1294,982,907
16Costa Rica7.0697.1215,139,052
17United Kingdom7.0647.16568,207,116
18Czech Republic6.9656.91110,724,555
19United States6.9516.94332,915,073
20Belgium6.8346.86411,632,326
21France6.696.66465,426,179
22Bahrain6.6476.2271,748,296
23Malta6.6026.773442,784
24Taiwan6.5846.45523,855,010
25United Arab Emirates6.5616.7919,991,089
26Saudi Arabia6.4946.40635,340,683
27Spain6.4916.40146,745,216
28Italy6.4836.38760,367,477
29Slovenia6.4616.3632,078,724
30Guatemala6.4356.39918,249,860
31Uruguay6.4316.443,485,151
32Singapore6.3776.3775,896,686
33Slovakia6.3316.2815,460,721
34Brazil6.336.376213,993,437
35Mexico6.3176.465130,262,216
36Jamaica6.3095.892,973,463
37Lithuania6.2556.2152,689,862
38Cyprus6.2236.1591,215,584
39Estonia6.1896.0221,325,185
40Panama6.186.3054,381,579
41Uzbekistan6.1796.25833,935,763
42Chile6.1726.22819,212,361
43Poland6.1666.18637,797,005
44Kazakhstan6.1526.05818,994,962
45Romania6.146.12419,127,774
46Kuwait6.1066.1024,328,550
47Serbia6.0785.7788,697,550
48El Salvador6.0616.3486,518,499
49Mauritius6.0496.1011,273,433
50Latvia6.0325.951,866,942
51Colombia6.0126.16351,265,844
52Hungary5.99269,634,164
53Thailand5.9855.99969,950,850
54Nicaragua5.9726.1376,702,385
55Japan5.945.871126,050,804
57Portugal5.9295.91110,167,925
56Argentina5.9295.97545,605,826
58Honduras5.9195.95310,062,991
59Croatia5.8825.5054,081,651
60Philippines5.886.006111,046,913
61South Korea5.8455.87251,305,186
62Peru5.845.79733,359,418
63Bosnia And Herzegovina5.8135.6743,263,466
64Moldova5.7665.6084,024,019
65Ecuador5.7645.92517,888,475
66Kyrgyzstan5.7445.5426,628,356
67Greece5.7235.51510,370,744
68Bolivia5.7165.74711,832,940
69Mongolia5.6775.4563,329,289
70Paraguay5.6535.6927,219,638
71Montenegro5.5815.546628,053
72Dominican Republic5.5455.68910,953,703
73Belarus5.5345.549,442,862
75Hong Kong5.4775.517,552,810
74Russia5.4775.546145,912,025
76Tajikistan5.4665.5569,749,627
77Vietnam5.4115.35398,168,833
78Libya5.415.4896,958,532
79Malaysia5.3845.38432,776,194
80Indonesia5.3455.286276,361,783
81Republic Of The Congo5.3425.1945,657,013
82China5.3395.1241,444,216,107
83Ivory Coast5.3065.23327,053,629
84Armenia5.2834.6772,968,127
85Nepal5.2695.13729,674,920
86Bulgaria5.2665.1026,896,663
87Maldives5.1985.198543,617
88Azerbaijan5.1715.16510,223,342
89Cameroon5.1425.08527,224,265
90Senegal5.1324.98117,196,301
91Albania5.1174.8832,872,933
92North Macedonia5.1015.162,082,658
93Ghana5.0885.14831,732,129
94Niger5.0744.9125,130,817
95Turkmenistan5.0665.1196,117,924
96Gambia5.0514.7512,486,945
97Benin5.0455.21612,451,040
98Laos5.034.8897,379,358
99Bangladesh5.0254.833166,303,498
100Guinea4.9844.94913,497,244
101South Africa4.9564.81460,041,994
102Turkey4.9485.13285,042,738
103Pakistan4.9345.693225,199,937
104Morocco4.9185.09537,344,795
105Venezuela4.8925.05328,704,954
106Georgia4.8914.6733,979,765
107Algeria4.8875.00544,616,624
108Ukraine4.8754.56143,466,819
109Iraq4.8544.78541,179,350
110Gabon4.8524.8292,278,825
111Burkina Faso4.8344.76921,497,096
112Cambodia4.834.84816,946,438
113Mozambique4.7944.62432,163,047
114Nigeria4.7594.724211,400,708
115Mali4.7234.72920,855,735
116Iran4.7214.67285,028,759
117Uganda4.6364.43247,123,531
118Liberia4.6254.5585,180,203
119Kenya4.6074.58354,985,698
120Tunisia4.5964.39211,935,766
121Lebanon4.5844.7726,769,146
122Namibia4.5744.5712,587,344
123Myanmar4.4264.30854,806,012
124Jordan4.3954.63310,269,021
125Chad4.3554.42316,914,985
126Sri Lanka4.3254.32721,497,310
127Eswatini4.3084.3081,172,362
128Comoros4.2894.289888,451
129Egypt4.2834.151104,258,327
130Ethiopia4.2754.186117,876,227
131Mauritania4.2274.3754,775,119
132Madagascar4.2084.16628,427,328
133Togo4.1074.1878,478,250
134Zambia4.0733.75918,920,651
135Sierra Leone3.8493.9268,141,343
136India3.8193.5731,393,409,038
137Burundi3.7753.77512,255,433
138Yemen3.6583.52730,490,640
139Tanzania3.6233.47661,498,437
140Haiti3.6153.72111,541,685
141Malawi3.63.53819,647,684
142Lesotho3.5123.6532,159,079
143Botswana3.4673.4792,397,241
144Rwanda3.4153.31213,276,513
145Zimbabwe3.1453.29915,092,171
146Afghanistan2.5232.56739,835,428

Happiest Countries In The World 2021