Finland ranked world's happiest country again

An aurora in the sky in the village of Kilpisjarvi in Finland, which has extended its lead over Denmark and Switzerland even as it once again tops the rankings in the World Happiness Report. Singapore is ranked 31st out of 153.
An aurora in the sky in the village of Kilpisjarvi in Finland, which has extended its lead over Denmark and Switzerland even as it once again tops the rankings in the World Happiness Report. Singapore is ranked 31st out of 153.PHOTO: REUTERS

HELSINKI • Finland is once again crowned the world's happiest country, extending its lead over Denmark and Switzerland, according to a United Nations-affiliated research network.

Finnish contentment stems from high levels of trust, which also underpins solid rankings across the rest of the Nordic region, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network said in the World Happiness Report yesterday.

Reliable and extensive welfare benefits, low corruption as well as well-functioning democracy and state institutions are also key, as is a high sense of autonomy and freedom reported by their citizens.

"The World Happiness Report has proven to be an indispensable tool for policymakers looking to better understand what makes people happy," said Mr Jeffrey Sachs, director of the network.

The results are based on an average of three years of surveys between 2017 and 2019, meaning there is overlap in the data from previous years, and include factors such as gross domestic product, social support from friends and family, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity, perceived corruption and recent emotions - both happy and sad.

Singapore is ranked 31st, the second happiest behind Taiwan (No. 25) in Asia. Japan is No. 62 while Malaysia is No. 82.

Afghanistan ranked lowest out of 153 places, with South Sudan and Zimbabwe just above it.

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Finnish contentment stems from high levels of trust, which also underpins solid rankings across the rest of the Nordic region, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network said in the World Happiness Report yesterday. Reliable and extensive welfare benefits, low corruption as well as well-functioning democracy and state institutions are also key, as is a high sense of autonomy and freedom reported by their citizens.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 21, 2020, with the headline 'Finland ranked world's happiest country again'. Print Edition | Subscribe