This country has been voted the world’s happiest for the sixth year in a row

Connecting with nature is integral to Finnish culture (Getty Images)
Connecting with nature is integral to Finnish culture (Getty Images)

Finland has been named the world’s happiest country for the sixth year in a row.

The annual World Happiness Report, now in its th year, is produced each spring by the UN’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network, based on data from the Gallup World Poll.

Locals in more than 150 countries around the world are asked to rank their experiences as residents, while team members behind the study assess each nation’s GDP, life expectancy, generosity, social support, freedom and corruption levels.

Low crime rates, an abundance of natural beauty, an emphasis on community and co-operation, universal health care, and few people living in poverty are all thought to contribute to the Finnish nation’s happiness.

Nordic nations dominated the top spots, with Denmark and Iceland following Finland as second and third happiest countries respectively, while Sweden and Norway scooped the sixth and seventh spots.

Lithuania is the only new country in the top 20, up more than 30 places since 2017.

At the other end of the scale, Afghanistan and Lebanon remain the two unhappiest countries in the survey, with average life evaluations more than five points lower (on a scale running from 0 to 10) than in the 10 happiest countries.

Commenting on the report, economist and academic Jeffrey D. Sachs said: “The ultimate goal of politics and ethics should be human well-being.

The happiness movement shows that well-being is not a ‘soft’ and ‘vague’ idea but rather focuses on areas of life of critical importance: material conditions, mental and physical wealth, personal virtues, and good citizenship.

“We need to turn this wisdom into practical results to achieve more peace, prosperity, trust, civility – and yes, happiness – in our societies.”

Capitalising on their six-year run as the world’s happiest country, tourism officials in Finland recently launched a “happiness masterclass” to help people connect to their “inner Finn”.

Business Finland’s senior director, Heli Jimenez, said that the masterclass aims to help people harness happiness.

“A question we often get is: ‘How are you so happy?’” she says.

“We believe Finnish happiness stems from a close relationship with nature and our down-to-earth lifestyle: it’s not some mystical state, but a skill that can be learned and shared.

“We want to help people find and master that Finnish state of mind. We’ve chosen the best coaches, one of the most breath-taking resorts in Finland, and a time in the early summer amid the beautiful Finnish nature for our masterclass.”

The world’s happiest countries 2023

  1. Finland

  2. Denmark

  3. Iceland

  4. Israel

  5. Netherlands

  6. Sweden

  7. Norway

  8. Switzerland

  9. Luxembourg

  10. New Zealand

  11. Austria

  12. Australia

  13. Canada

  14. Ireland

  15. United States

  16. Germany

  17. Belgium

  18. Czech Republic

  19. United Kingdom

  20. Lithuania