If you want to live in the happiest countries in the world, be prepared for colder weather, winter sports, and higher taxes that provide a social safety net for native-born and immigrants alike.
The 2019 World Happiness Report , the seventh annual report commissioned by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations, shows only one major change in the Top 10 rankings. Australia has dropped off as #10, replaced by Austria.
“The top 10 countries tend to rank high in all six key variables, as well as emotional measures of well-being,” says report co-editor John Helliwell, a professor emeritus of economics at the University of British Columbia. They are: income, freedom, trust, healthy life expectancy, social support and generosity.
2019 Top 10 Happiest
# 1 Finland #2 Denmark #3 Norway #4 Iceland #5 Netherlands
# 6 Switzerland #7 Sweden # 8 New Zealand # 9 Canada #10 Austria
2018 Top 10 Happiest
# 1 Finland # 2 Norway #3 Denmark # 4 Iceland # 5 Switzerland
# 6 Netherlands # 7 Canada # 8 New Zealand # 9 Sweden # 10 Australia
The United States comes in at # 19, a drop of one place since 2018, and down five places since 2017.
“Except for its 10th place ranking for income, the U.S. doesn’t rank in the top 10 on measures that make up a happy country in the UN report. They include 12th place for generosity, 37th place for social support, 61st place for freedom and 42nd place for corruption.”
The World Happiness Report was released by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations on March 20, the date that the United Nations has declared to be the International Day of Happiness.
Other findings reported in the 2019 rankings:
- The three happiest countries for the foreign-born mirror findings for the native-born: Finland, Denmark and Norway.
- The bottom three in the 156-nation list were Burundi, the Central African Republic and South Sudan. All three reflect economic, social and political stresses.
- Venezuela was 82nd in the 2018 World Happiness Report. This year? 102nd, evidence of the severe economic and humanitarian crisis in this oil-rich country.
The Green News Update story on 2018 World Happiness Report with links to the 2018 study