Happiest Countries in the World 2022

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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, and 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 2022

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Happiest Countries in the World 2022

Rank Country Happiness 2021 Happiness 2020 Score Change
1Finland7.8427.8090.033
2Denmark7.627.646-0.026
3Switzerland7.5717.560.011
4Iceland7.5547.5040.050
5Netherlands7.4647.4490.015
6Norway7.3927.488-0.096
7Sweden7.3637.3530.010
8Luxembourg7.3247.2380.086
9New Zealand7.2777.3-0.023
10Austria7.2687.294-0.026
11Australia7.1837.223-0.040
12Israel7.1577.1290.028
13Germany7.1557.0760.079
14Canada7.1037.232-0.129
15Ireland7.0857.129-0.044
16Costa Rica7.0697.121-0.052
17United Kingdom7.0647.165-0.101
18Czech Republic6.9656.9110.054
19United States6.9516.940.011
20Belgium6.8346.864-0.030
21France6.696.6640.026
22Bahrain6.6476.2270.420
23Malta6.6026.773-0.171
24Taiwan6.5846.4550.129
25United Arab Emirates6.5616.791-0.230
26Saudi Arabia6.4946.4060.088
27Spain6.4916.4010.090
28Italy6.4836.3870.096
29Slovenia6.4616.3630.098
30Guatemala6.4356.3990.036
31Uruguay6.4316.44-0.009
32Singapore6.3776.3770.000
33Slovakia6.3316.2810.050
34Brazil6.336.376-0.046
35Mexico6.3176.465-0.148
36Jamaica6.3095.890.419
37Lithuania6.2556.2150.040
38Cyprus6.2236.1590.064
39Estonia6.1896.0220.167
40Panama6.186.305-0.125
41Uzbekistan6.1796.258-0.079
42Chile6.1726.228-0.056
43Poland6.1666.186-0.020
44Kazakhstan6.1526.0580.094
45Romania6.146.1240.016
46Kuwait6.1066.1020.004
47Serbia6.0785.7780.300
48El Salvador6.0616.348-0.287
49Mauritius6.0496.101-0.052
50Latvia6.0325.950.082
51Colombia6.0126.163-0.151
52Hungary5.9926-0.008
53Thailand5.9855.999-0.014
54Nicaragua5.9726.137-0.165
55Japan5.945.8710.069
56Argentina5.9295.975-0.046
57Portugal5.9295.9110.018
58Honduras5.9195.953-0.034
59Croatia5.8825.5050.377
60Philippines5.886.006-0.126
61South Korea5.8455.872-0.027
62Peru5.845.7970.043
63Bosnia and Herzegovina5.8135.6740.139
64Moldova5.7665.6080.158
65Ecuador5.7645.925-0.161
66Kyrgyzstan5.7445.5420.202
67Greece5.7235.5150.208
68Bolivia5.7165.747-0.031
69Mongolia5.6775.4560.221
70Paraguay5.6535.692-0.039
71Montenegro5.5815.5460.035
72Dominican Republic5.5455.689-0.144
73Belarus5.5345.54-0.006
74Russia5.4775.546-0.069
75Hong Kong5.4775.51-0.033
76Tajikistan5.4665.556-0.090
77Vietnam5.4115.3530.058
78Libya5.415.489-0.079
79Malaysia5.3845.3840.000
80Indonesia5.3455.2860.059
81Republic of the Congo5.3425.1940.148
82China5.3395.1240.215
83Ivory Coast5.3065.2330.073
84Armenia5.2834.6770.606
85Nepal5.2695.1370.132
86Bulgaria5.2665.1020.164
87Maldives5.1985.1980.000
88Azerbaijan5.1715.1650.006
89Cameroon5.1425.0850.057
90Senegal5.1324.9810.151
91Albania5.1174.8830.234
92North Macedonia5.1015.16-0.059
93Ghana5.0885.148-0.060
94Niger5.0744.910.164
95Turkmenistan5.0665.119-0.053
96Gambia5.0514.7510.300
97Benin5.0455.216-0.171
98Laos5.034.8890.141
99Bangladesh5.0254.8330.192
100Guinea4.9844.9490.035
101South Africa4.9564.8140.142
102Turkey4.9485.132-0.184
103Pakistan4.9345.693-0.759
104Morocco4.9185.095-0.177
105Venezuela4.8925.053-0.161
106Georgia4.8914.6730.218
107Algeria4.8875.005-0.118
108Ukraine4.8754.5610.314
109Iraq4.8544.7850.069
110Gabon4.8524.8290.023
111Burkina Faso4.8344.7690.065
112Cambodia4.834.848-0.018
113Mozambique4.7944.6240.170
114Nigeria4.7594.7240.035
115Mali4.7234.729-0.006
116Iran4.7214.6720.049
117Uganda4.6364.4320.204
118Liberia4.6254.5580.067
119Kenya4.6074.5830.024
120Tunisia4.5964.3920.204
121Lebanon4.5844.772-0.188
122Namibia4.5744.5710.003
123Myanmar4.4264.3080.118
124Jordan4.3954.633-0.238
125Chad4.3554.423-0.068
126Sri Lanka4.3254.327-0.002
127Eswatini4.3084.3080.000
128Comoros4.2894.2890.000
129Egypt4.2834.1510.132
130Ethiopia4.2754.1860.089
131Mauritania4.2274.375-0.148
132Madagascar4.2084.1660.042
133Togo4.1074.187-0.080
134Zambia4.0733.7590.314
135Sierra Leone3.8493.926-0.077
136India3.8193.5730.246
137Burundi3.7753.7750.000
138Yemen3.6583.5270.131
139Tanzania3.6233.4760.147
140Haiti3.6153.721-0.106
141Malawi3.63.5380.062
142Lesotho3.5123.653-0.141
143Botswana3.4673.479-0.012
144Rwanda3.4153.3120.103
145Zimbabwe3.1453.299-0.154
146Afghanistan2.5232.567-0.044

Happiest Countries in the World 2022

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